Animal rights activists are outraged today after a video surfaced of NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre shooting an endangered elephant in Botswana. The botched hunting trip took place in 2013 as part of an NRA-sponsored television series that was never released. Both LaPierre and his wife shot elephants in a display of animal cruelty and poor marksmanship.
The New Yorker and The Trace obtained the footage and it was released to the public on Tuesday after sitting in the dark for eight years. The 10-minute video is infuriating animal rights activists, as it shows Wayne LaPierre Jr., the executive vice president of the NRA, and his wife, Susan LaPierre, injuring two endangered Savanna elephants before their hunting guides finished them off.
LaPierre, a terrible marksman as demonstrated by the video, fails to kill the elephant after three point-blank shots, and a guide is asked to finish the job, as the elephant writhes in pain on the ground. The elephant can be heard crying for minutes as the hunting guides position LaPierre and instruct him on how to properly shoot and kill the creature.
“Good job my friend,” a voice says behind the camera, congratulating LaPierre. After four total shots, the elephant is still not dead and a hunting guide has to put an end to its misery.
“That’s something, I’ll tell ya,” LaPierre exclaims, shaking hands with his hunting guides. One of the guides pats LaPierre on the back and tells him, “Your first elephant hunt was one heck of an elephant hunt.”
Smiles and cheers can be heard for a couple of minutes before the team walks over to the elephant that was still alive. Blood can be seen pouring from its side and face, and the hunters stand in awe at their work.
“I can’t say it was the perfect shot,” one hunter says, discussing LaPierre’s first attempt. Another hunter chimed in: “He went down didn’t he?”
The second half of the video documents Wayne LaPierre’s wife as she hunts her own endangered Savanah elephant. As the dead creature lies in the dirt, Susan remarks at the beautiful carcass and big feet. “This is like his toenail, right?” She asked, inspecting its foot.
A minute later, Susan is standing by the elephant’s behind as a hunter cuts off its tail. “Victory,” she yells, holding up the severed appendage, “That’s my elephant tail. Way cool.”
PETA called Congress immediately after the video surfaced, condemning the murders, and asking the government to “watch the video, condemn the murder of animals for their body parts by trophy addicts, and have the courage to reject NRA money.
“Behind the NRA’s macho posturing are scared little men who pay tens of thousands of dollars for someone else to track elephants so that they can shoot them ineptly at close range,” Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s President, said in a statement.
The botched hunting trip documented in the video came shortly after the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. LaPierre famously condemned the media for its portrayal of death and murder, claiming video games and the music industry were the main causes of the violence, having portrayed “murder as a way of life.”
In his speech, Wayne LaPierre noted that “they have the nerve to call it ‘entertainment.’ But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?”
LaPierre has been the chief executive of the NRA since 1991. More than 5 million people are part of the organization, but the NRA has faced financial and leadership turmoil for some time.