Animal activist Raye rejects ‘hate’ charge by hunter

Vocal opponent of hunting: Sylvia Raye says she will not be silenced. Picture: Chris LaneST GEORGE resident Sylvia Raye has had her critics over the years but never before has she been accused of peddling hate.

The entertainer and animal activist was referred to as the ‘‘high priestess of hate’’ in a recent online post about hunting by blogger Garry Mallard for her vocal opposition to hunting.

After the post was published Ms Raye received intimidating emails.

She said she would not be silenced and would continue to oppose hunting.

‘‘I’m pretty courageous and I’m going to continue fighting against shooting in the national parks,’’ she said.

Ms Raye was targeted for her comments regarding Game Council chairman Robert Borsak, who gained notoriety after shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe.

‘‘It is absolutely ridiculous – Robert Borsak is the one who shot the elephant, not me,’’ she said.

‘‘I’ve been to a war zone and seen what guns and violence can do; surely we should be aiming for a kinder world without unnecessary killing going on.

‘‘I will speak out for injustice, that’s what I do.’’

Mr Mallard said that Ms Raye had promoted her personal causes and philosophies broadly through social media.

‘‘Freedom of speech does not include the right to demonise or vilify a cultural group, and many hunters identify themselves as people preserving skills and practices as part of their cultural heritage,’’ he said.

‘‘As a man who grew up in the shire, I am proud of the hunting heritage passed down to me by my grandfather and father, both also long-term and socially responsible, contributing residents of the shire.

‘‘I refute that I have ever associated Ms Raye or her activities with acts of terrorism.

‘‘[But] when people peddle messages of hatred in a manner that dehumanises their target, such messages [can] incite irrational and often extremely violent acts in response, the inspiration for which they are quick to deny all responsibility for.’’

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