Home Hunting Google Backs Down on Anti-Hunting RMEF ‘Animal Cruelty’ Virtue Signaling

Google Backs Down on Anti-Hunting RMEF ‘Animal Cruelty’ Virtue Signaling

RMEF Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
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By Larry Keane

Google thinks hunting is animal cruelty.

Well, they did for a few days and until U.S. senators, a Congressman, Donald Trump Jr. and the media started asking questions. Now, they’re pretty quiet about the issue. In fact, Google, Inc., isn’t returning phone calls to media asking about what happened.

It all started when Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) wanted to promote an eight-minute video about hunting’s benefits. The video featured former RMEF board member Nancy Hadley taking part in a New Mexico muzzleloader hunt and includes memories of being raised in a hunting family.


Salacious, we know.

The Policy

Here’s what Google had to say to RMEF when they tried to promote the video on their Google Ads account, which they’ve had for nearly a decade.

“…any promotions about hunting practices, even when they are intended as a healthy method of population control and/or conservation, is considered as animal cruelty and deemed inappropriate to be shown on our network. I can imagine how displeasing this could be to hear as you would like to promote this video so that you can show hunting in a positive manner, however, we are also bound by our policies and protocols and according to Google’s policies, promotions such as these cannot be allowed to run.”

That’s right. Hunting, even when presented as a healthy method of conservation, is considered animal cruelty.

The Reaction

RMEF wasn’t having it. Neither were U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.). They sent a letter to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai expressing not only their displeasure in the censorship but also the corporate-political virtue signaling policy to unilaterally decide for all Google users that hunting was now “animal cruelty.” Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester also sent a separate letter.

Sen. Daines and Rep. Gianforte called the move a “troubling precedent” and called on Google to “immediately change this policy.” They also requested Pichai meet to discuss Montana’s and the United States’ hunting heritage.

Google’s Disparaging Parade

The thing is, this is just another step in the parade of Google trampling on free speech and silencing disfavored rights and sports. YouTube, owned by Google, attempted to terminate firearms supplier Brownell’s channel in 2018. They reversed course only after a social media outrage. In 2012, Google assigned a family status to its Google Shopping function. After that, firearm-related products were banned, even though the recreational shooting sports is constitutionally-protected and enjoyed by millions of families.

Google isn’t alone in this. Family-owned Sportsman’s Shop in East Earl, Penn., became victim to similar corporate-political virtue signaling by Facebook when they had their ad for American flags dropped. They were invited in Fox & Friends to explain how it didn’t involve firearms, but the red, white and blue.

Just Google It

Google might use its own search functions to learn a few things. They’d learn that RMEF has permanently protected more than 1,700 square miles of prime elk habitat for all to enjoy. The group is also the primary driver behind elk restoration to Wisconsin in 1995, Kentucky in 1997, Tennessee in 2000, Ontario in 1998, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2001, Missouri in 2011, Virginia in 2012 and West Virginia in 2016.

Google might also learn that hunter-conservationists are the catalyst for elk recovery and many other wildlife species. Since 1937, more than $12.1 billion has been paid by firearms and ammunition manufacturers to the Pittman-Robertson Fund, an excise tax on each firearm, bullet and shotshell produced. That’s funded wildlife habitat restoration and wildlife recovery to the healthiest populations in more than a century.

Sustainable hunting is far from cruel. It’s helping elk thrive. Google, however, is choking free expression.


Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.

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  1. Facsism of The Left. It’s what’s for breakfast. It’s not what’s for dinner.

    • As a former member of the RMEF, I found their edgy content and leaning more towards guns then elk has derailed their original mission. The last straw was when they pulled their Slob Hunter column from the Bugle (RMEF journal), and promoted long distance elk shooting to new hunters. We have enough trouble with out-of-state hunters shooting horses, grizzlies and other hunters without New Yorkers sniping elk.

      Yes, we do charge a bundle for an out-of-state elk license, but it is not a license to take pot shots at elk just because all the smiling faces promoted by the RMEF have large bull kills. The carnage from slob hunters is much worse than all the poaching that goes on around here. Add the stress of a quick trip to Montana filled with fees and expenses, and the RMEF has sold a bill of goods to the public that elk are huge, abundant, and quickly dispatched with pretty much any gun. While not technically lies, it certainly misleads the realities of elk which is my point.

      • Are you victim shaming? Do you think that the organization’s “edgy” promos could be considered a problem? What part of Free Speech don’t you understand?!

      • You sound more like a FUDD that anything else. If you are a gun owner and a hunter than you are doing a disservice by categorizing out of state hunters the way you did.

        • So, in your world view, just to notice and mention how stupid it is for a NY citidiot to come out here to Montana, shoot a coyote, and put a pronghorn antelope tag on it, somehow just for noticing how incredibly ignorant and foolish that is makes a one a FUDD?
          I think you should think again. Long and hard. And perhaps leave NYC and live in the real world for awhile. You might just learn a few things.

      • The word is than not then Then refers to time Than refers to choice learn English please.

  2. I’m a member of the RMEF. It’s a fantastic organization that protects wildlife the right way, primarily by purchasing and improving habitat, not just demanding that people stay out of public lands.
    So many people who consider themselves environmentalists think the way to protect a species is to keep people entirely separated from interacting with them. History has proven that is a surefire way to guarantee their extinction. The RMEF encourages people to take an active role in providing elk with sustainable, healthy environments, and that includes hunting.

    • For most left wing environmentalist it’s about ideology more than anything. If they truly cared about the environment, then they wouldn’t leave a huge pollution mess behind after protesting a pipeline.

    • “….I’m a member of the RMEF…”

      That’s awesome!

      And you completely missed the point.

      Goofle is going to shut down conservatives this next election cycle. Have you seen the studies that suggest goofle could swing the election, WITHOUT ANYONE KNOWING, simply by modifying their algorithms? This and other cases are them “gearing up” for this implementation.

      It’s amazing how many POG in the section are using goofle. They condemn Dick’s, curse Benchmade, and then freely use goofle, when so many better alternatives exist.

      When will TTAG take up this very issue…POG stop using goofle?

    • So many have forgotten that man is a part of nature. More people would do well to experience such a thing firsthand.

  3. Killing an animal with a gun is the most humane way to kill a wild animal. If you don’t believe that then you should watch video of predictors eating prey while it is still alive!

    • Or animals dying a long, slow, agonizing death from starvation or disease.

      • Yep, or watching as a cow elk runs down the hill with an arrow sticking out of her. Second season rifle late October, at 12,000 feet. Colorado high country in front of a nasty cold front. I guarantee she died slow. Weather dropped way below freezing. That cow died suffering and in my thoughts a good rifle would have done her in if she was hit in the same spot.

        I never had a chance for a shot, my hunting group was shooting high power rifles but none of us had a chance. I was shooting a .300 Win Mag that in my opinion would have done just a tad better than a bow and arrow.

        • By your style of thinkin’, a better way to get groceries home would be an eighteen wheeler instead of a soccer mom’s type car… A bow and arrow did the job for generations of Native Americans, right? Skill is the answer!

  4. Gun owners should “rattle the saber” of the Pittman-Robertson Fund in the faces of the environmentalists.

    How about we introduce a bill repealing Pittman-Robertson? (Not that we would be serious about pushing it forward).

    How about we introduce a bill “reforming” Pittman-Robertson? What fraction of the ammunition of each cartridge type is used for hunting? Surely we have some means of making a rough estimate. E.g., .22 Short HP is not used for hunting in an appreciable degree. Conversely, .30-06 is significantly so used. Shouldn’t the excise tax rate be shifted toward the hunting cartridges and away from those cartridges used for the core purposes of self-defense and securing a free state?

    After all, it’s not just hunters – a declining population – who have a stake in conserving wildlife. All of us have to be invested. Vegetarians should be urging their Congress-critters to levy a tax on tofu to support conservation.

    The result of such a movement would be to invoke the wrath of hunters and marksmen who insist upon being taxed by “the consent of the People” and oppose gutting the funding for conservation. Environmentalists would likely take note of that voice of the People. The louder it sounds the greater the recognition of political power.

    • The antis say “you don’t need xxx to hunt,” or “people don’t hunt with xxxx” about AR-15s and other “assault weapons.” If that’s true, then there shouldn’t be a hunting tax on them. People really don’t hunt with mouse guns, .32 ACP, etc, so defensive firearms and ammo should he exempt.

  5. Keep it up, Leftists.

    Keep building that case that gun rights need to be designated a protected class, just like minorities, alternative-sexual orientation, etc.

    Then we will ram gun rights down your throats…

    • Geoff PR,

      A while back I asked you what the “PR” stands for. I cannot find that post. What does “PR” stand for?

      • “Public Relations”. Hasn’t uncommon_sense experienced the finesse and sedulous way by which Mr. Geoff PR assiduously articulates his points? The man is perfectly suited for conflict resolution.

  6. Whenever I see people saying shooting an animal is cruel, I always wonder if they’ve ever given thought to the natural ways animals die. You know, like getting a disease that slowly wastes them away until they’re to weak to walk, then die slowly on the ground, hungry, thirsty and in pain. Or being strangled by a predator. Or dying of dehydration due to drought. Or getting hit by a car. Or an injury that slowly does them in.
    After considering all those options, a double-lung shot and a minute or two of pain doesn’t seem so bad….

    • TrappedInCommifornia,

      Speaking from experience, a decent heart and/or double-lung shot on deer and smaller game results in “lights out” within about 10 seconds.

      I have only heard of moose taking several minutes to keel over after good heart shots.

      • That’s the impression that I got from watching videos, but wasn’t sure so estimated on the high end. I’m going on my first deer hunt this fall, so hopefully I will have some first-hand experience on the matter soon 😉

        • TrappedInCommifornia,

          Deer rarely run more than 50 yards with a good heart/lung shot. And when you figure how a deer can run 50 yards in about 3 seconds, that gives you an idea of how fast they go down.

          Even my “worst” shots with arrows and modest (not huge) broadheads: the deer have never run more than about 150 yards. Again, given how fast deer run, they can cover that 150 yards in about 10 seconds.

          My only oddity: this last autumn I shot a BIG buck at about 65 yards with my rifle chambered in .44 Magnum (yes the handgun caliber in a rifle). I put a perfect broadside double-lung shot (and a passthrough at that) on him with a 240 grain softpoint bullet that hit him at about 1,400 fps (just over 1,000 foot-pounds energy which totally destroyed his lungs). He still managed to run almost 140 yards before going down.

          Have fun and enjoy the outdoors. And do your best to stay calm if a deer comes into range!

    • Look at who is the CEO, it makes things very clear. Google is a far left Marxist company, I know Conseratives that work there and absolutely HATE it. It is a hostile work envoirment.

  7. Ask these jackasses if they know who pays for animal conservation via the Pittman-Robertson Act or if they even know what it is. And what do they think the fees for hunting and fishing licenses go toward? Do they know what the job of a warden is? Maybe they should watch a couple of shows on Animal Planet and Nat Geo. Who did they approach as research, PETA? Outlaw hunting and see how many animals are left after the mass starvation.

  8. Vote with your clicks. I haven’t used Google search in years. There are other fine search and mapping engines. YouTube is a bit harder to avoid.

  9. Let’s be clear: the Left doesn’t give a $hit about animal suffering. What they are upset about is images of a Free People doing things for themselves in a way that portrays the very fact that the government is not necessary in ones daily life. Guns are the totem of Individual Freedom. Individual Freedom is what must be undone at any cost. Self-sufficiency is absolutely anathema to government.

  10. If anyone wants to bitch about hunting and animal cruelty they should tour a meat packing plant.

  11. CEO Sundar Pichai is a poster-child for Silicon-Valley anti-Americanisn. Nobody from there is actually from here in the sense that they do not share traditional American values. Note to ole’ Sundar: Just living here don’t make you an American, dude. If you don’t value our culture, why don’t you move somewhere else? I’m told Singapore or Vancouver are welcoming places.

  12. “Google, however, is choking free expression.”

    And in other news, Water is wet. Video at 11.

  13. Joseph Goebbels would be proud of them. ( Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda and censor).

  14. Google has been going downhill for years since they’ve been getting more and more ‘woke.’ It’s not just their political slant- their search functions have turned to shit. Image search is useless compared even to Bing and they’ve eliminated very important search options like defining a particular span of time (date-to-date). Makes it much harder to pin some things down when you’re searching. I wonder if all their workers just spend their days napping, playing foozeball and campaigning for CA liberals instead of actually innovating.

  15. 99% of Republicans don’t realize that Google and Fvckbook are going to go full bore in getting the result they desire in the 2020 election.
    They will….
    1) prioritize results for Democrats
    2) Silent ban anything positive towards Republcans

    After Trump 2016 election they realize that they have to put their thumb on the scale with a much higher force. They believe (correctly) that they have passed enough money around in D.C. to get away with it (and they will).

    The Republicans are idiots if they don’t understand this. And they don’t.

    • You are correct and as the commercial says, “but wait, there’s more…” Google is staffed, chaired, policed and totally under the control of leftists. This is not a secret. The bad part is that they can alter “reality” for many folks who depend on them for their searches, info, etc. Think of the major network news outlets, papers and etc. Those who don’t usually pay attention to the world around them will wake up one day and discover the America they grew up in is no more. We are fast approaching that point now. Many of us POG for example, are ‘woke’ to a different reality; one where our rights are being stripped away piece by piece, our laws are being ignored (at our border for example) and our politicians for the most part act like everything is fine. Maybe for them everything is fine, for now. Most folks are busy earning a living, raising kids and not the ones out protesting, joining activist groups and generally being a PITA to those who can make a difference; our elected officials. I know I am guilty of being in that group.

  16. …we are also bound by our policies and protocols and according to Google’s policies…

    Policies. This is the new corporate version of “just following orders,” but with the added “benefit” of no one actually giving orders, and thus able to be held responsible for them.

    That they even make such policies means that they are not a platform, and thus not eligible for “safe harbor” protections from lawsuits.

  17. Good job NSSF! You are clearly an outfit that punches above its weight in defense our 2A…

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