A SIXTEEN years old Innuit boy who killed a whale to provide food for his community has become a latest target by PETA campaigners.
Chris Apassingok, 16, received thousands of death threats and condemnation from animal rights activists.
The teenager who harpooned a 57-foot whale for food was bombarded on social media with hate mail, abuse and even death threats.
His mother, Susan Appasingok, says activists made her son’s life a living hell.
She said: “We struggle to buy gas, food, my son risked his life out there to feed us, while animal rights activists will never have to suffer a day in their lives. Why are they going after a child such as my son?”
Apassingok, lives in the small Siberian Yupik village of Gambell on St. Lawrence Island on the northwest edge of Alaska, US.
There are only 700 people in his community, and it usually sends out 30 boats to search for bowhead whales each year.
The Yupik village is largely disconnected from nature and has no grocery stores.
The only way for the community to get food is to harpoon whales.
The big sea mammals can weigh over 50 tons and provide the villagers with plenty of meat.
Yet, animal rights activists sent the teenager boy messages such as “You little c**t,” “I hope you choke on blubber,” “You deserve to die” and “You need to harpoon your mom”.
Susan added: “There was this one message saying that, I read on his phone, that they hope that our whole community dies.”
But despite nasty comments from animal rights groups, Chris received a lot of support from his community both online and offline.
Tatiana Ticknor, a teenager from Anchorage, expressed her support for Chris and her opposition to the haters.
She said: “When I see this happen it makes me feel sad and angry,” she said.
“Yet it makes me think on how uneducated people are on our First Nations peoples.
“That is the sad part. We are a culture still living and breathing today.
“What Chris did was an amazing accomplishment to him and his community.”
She was supported by Chris’ uncle who stated : “Hunting is more than getting a permit and fulfilling that permit with a grizzly bear or a Dall sheep or whatever,” he said. “There is happiness when a boy gets his first seal, there is joy.”
“As far as day-to-day dinner on the table, hunters are everything in the village.”