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Activists consider using drones for monitoring

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Environmental and animal rights activists are looking to the skies to aid in monitor their causes. The most recent form of aerial monitoring has been proposed by PETA to monitor hunters in the field for illegal activity. 

In a press release, PETA said it would “monitor those who are out in the woods with death on their minds” while using feed lures, spotlights or consuming alcohol while in possession of a firearm. PETA also intends to fly their drones over “other venues where animals routinely suffer and die,” such as factory farms and fishing spots.

Presently, PETA is not in possession of drones and has not chosen locations for monitoring but is working to obtain them. Ingrid Newkirk, PETA president, says the organization plans to follow U.S. requirements while flying the drones and will fly them overseas where there are fewer airspace restrictions. 

This is not the first time that humane groups have debated the use of drones to monitor hunter activities. Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) has used aircrafts equipped with cameras to film pigeon shoots on the East Coast. During these shoots, hunters aim for the birds after they have been released from cages or launched mechanically. 

Twice, these aircrafts have been shot down while recording a shoot in Berks County, Penn. 

AmmoLand posted a drone practice target on their site for readers to use at the range. Their site also stated that it “sounds to me like this will create a whole new shooting sport.”

In April 2012, it was rumored that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was using drones to spy on agriculturists in Nebraska and Iowa. However, these allegations were never proven.

The fleck of truth in the aerial monitoring was that EPA has been using small private planes, with human passengers, for more than a decade to search for violations with the Clean Water Act.

Many view this as an invasion of privacy but two Supreme Court cases, California versus Ciraolo 1986 and Florida versus Riley 1989, held that observations made from “public navigable airspace” in the absence of a warrant did not violate the Fourth Amendment. 

Kelsey Tramp is an intern for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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