People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is actively shopping for a drone that would "stalk hunters," the organization said Monday.
The group says it will "soon have some impressive new weapons at its disposal to combat those who gun down deer and doves" and that it is "shopping for one or more drone aircraft with which to monitor those who are out in the woods with death on their minds."
The group says it will not weaponize the drones, but will use them to film potentially illegal hunting activity and turn it over to law enforcement.
"The talk is usually about drones being used as killing machines, but PETA drones will be used to save lives," PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk said in a statement.
They are currently considering purchasing the CineStar Octocopter, which is capable of carrying a DSLR camera for up to 5 minutes. With smaller cameras, the drone can fly for about 20 minutes. The group says it also hopes to fly drones over factory farms, fishing spots and "other venues where animals routinely suffer and die."
In order to legally operate the drone, it will likely need a certificate of authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration, a process which can take several months.
Kaitlynn Kelly, a representative for PETA, tells U.S. News that they will soon seek FAA approval but that they "hope this won't be an issue," and that they plan to have permission to fly beginning in the fall.
"We're not releasing the locations that we have in mind, but we will look into the Northeast, bighorn sheep hunts and bowhunts because those are especially cruel," she says.
The group may want to carefully monitor its drone—last year, an animal rights group drone was shot down while it was attempting to monitor pigeon hunters in South Carolina.
- Company to Sell Drone Defense Technology to Public
- Journalism Schools Try Out Drones, Test Legal Boundaries
- Senate Weighs Benefits, Privacy Concerns of Domestic Drones
Updated on 4/8/13: This story has been updated with additional comments from PETA.