Obama criticised for killing fly

June 18, 2009

An animal rights group has urged US President Barack Obama to try taking a more humane attitude the next time he is pestered by a fly after he was shown swatting one dead.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it is now planning to send Mr Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allows users to trap a house fly and then release it outside.

“We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals,” Peta spokesman Bruce Friedrich said. “We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals.”

During an interview for CNBC at the White House on Tuesday, a fly intruded on Mr Obama’s conversation with correspondent John Harwood.

“Get out of here,” the president told the insect. When it didn’t, he waited for the fly to settle, put his hand up and then smacked it dead.

He then joked with his interviewer: “That was pretty impressive, wasn’t it? I got the sucker.”

Mr Friedrich said that Peta has been pleased with Mr Obama’s voting record in the Senate on behalf of animal rights, and noted that he has been outspoken against animal abuses.

But “swatting a fly on TV indicates he’s not perfect”, Mr Friedrich said, “and we’re happy to say that we wish he hadn’t”.