A National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbyist this week lashed out at critics who called on NBC Sports to cancel his hunting program after it aired an episode where he shot an elephant in the face.
By Friday, almost 50,000 people had reacted to this week's episode of Under Wild Skies -- which features gun lobbyist Tony Makris shooting an elephant in the face and then drinking champagne -- by asking NBC Sports to cancel the NRA-sponsored show.
In an interview with the NRA talk show host Cam Edwards on Thursday, Makris explained how he responded to animal rights activists who could not understand why he would kill an elephant.
"The short answer is because hungry people eat them and because I'm a hunter," he said. "You know, I'm not an elephant hunter. I'm a hunter. I hunt all things."
Makris continued: "And they go, 'They're so big and kind and gentle and smart.' And I said, 'Okay, let me ask you a question. Should I be able to shoot birds? Well, I guess that's okay. Ducks? Yeah. Pigeons? Oh, they're flying rats, okay. Rabbits? Well rabbits are cute. But yeah. Squirrels? That's nothing but a rat with a tail -- with a fuzzy tail.' And I said, 'Well deer eat all my mother's roses in Long Island.' And I go, 'So I can shoot all of those, but not an elephant?'"
Makris called that philosophy "a very unique form of animal racism."
"And now they're shocked," he added. "And they said, 'But they're so big and special and they're smarter.'"
"And I went, 'You know, Hitler would have said the same thing.'"
(h/t: Media Matters)