March 13, 2012 03:08:11 GMT
'We have the utmost respect for nature and have always hunted in accordance with local laws and regulations,' explain Eric and Donald Trump Jr. in a joint statement.
Two of Donald Trump's sons are forced to answer to the critics after a series of photos featuring them posing with the animals they hunted and killed during an African safari a year ago surfaced. In a joint statement to E! News, Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric Trump said, "We have the utmost respect for nature and have always hunted in accordance with local laws and regulations."
"In addition, all meat was donated to local villagers who were incredibly grateful," Donald Jr. and Eric stressed. They also explained, "We are both avid outdoorsmen and were brought up hunting and fishing with our Grandfather who taught us that nothing should ever be taken for granted or wasted. ... We love traveling and being in the woods - at the end of the day, we are outdoorsmen at heart."
Beside releasing the statement, Donald Jr. also took to Twitter to defend the hunting. Among his tweets are "Not a PR move I didn't give the pics but I have no shame about them either. I HUNT & EAT game", "I AM A HUNTER I don't hide from that" and "If the meat is all used what's the difference? These are not endangered animals as an fyi."
PETA, however, didn't let the two brothers get off easily. "If the young Trumps are looking for a thrill, perhaps they should consider skydiving, bungee jumping, or even following in their anti-hunting father's footsteps and taking down competing businesses - not wild animals," the animal rights organization said in a statement.
PETA continued blasting Donald Jr. and his brother for the photos featured on the Hunting Legends website as saying, "Like all animals, elephants, buffalo, and crocodiles deserve better than to be killed and hacked apart for two young millionaires' grisly photo opportunity. If the Trumps want to help villagers, they have plenty of resources at their disposal."
Donald Jr. and Eric went on a hunting safari in Zimbabwe around a year ago. Photos taken from the trip show that they killed an elephant, crocodile, kudu, civet cat and waterbuck. One of the pictures displays Don holding a sawed-off tail of an elephant, while another exhibits the two brothers taking a stand beside a crocodile that is hung off a tree.
Since the pictures came out, their father told TMZ, "My sons love hunting. They're hunters and they've become good at it. I am not a believer in hunting and I'm surprised they like it." Still, he was quick to add, "I know that anything they did was 100% OK in terms of the hunting community."