OWL experts were left hooting with laughter after PETA made yet another blunder.
The activists complained to a village vicar in England that letting the two owls take part in a display in his church was cruel because they said they belonged in the wild.
But popular Barn Owl Lizzy and Eagle Owl Archie have been raised in captivity and are far more at home indoors than in the wild.
Falconers Mike and Fi Simmons from Kingsbridge in Devon, quickly pointed out to PETA the error of their ways.
Mike said “If they had been talking about wild animals they would have been right but it is illegal to take birds of prey from the wild so any bird being used in such a display will have been raised in captivity.
“They actually get separation anxiety if they don’t see you. They like the company, they like being stroked – Izzy will fall asleep with Fi stroking her.”
The couple have raised two owls since they were ten days old.
In a letter to The Rev Jackie Taylor, the animal rights organisation complained that there were “numerous animal-welfare concerns” around having the owls in a church.
The letter was in response to an event that was planned to take place in St Edmunds Church during Kingsbridge Fair Week.
This was not PETA’s only inaccurate claim however. Mike also disagreed with PETA’s view that owls are “nocturnal animals”.
He added: “Barn owls, like Izzy, have dark eyes, so they prefer to hunt at dawn or dusk, but if they need to hunt, they’ll hunt at any time.
“Eagle Owls like Archie have light eyes and they’re diurnal [active during the day].”
It is clear that PETA have no appreciation for the care given to owls that participate in public events.
The Simmons’s are passionate about the importance of ‘manning’ the birds – handling and training them in a way that ensures they are kept calm, happy and relaxed in the company of people.
Fi also commented on the importance of “conservation and education” with regards to all wildlife.
She believes that seeing animals up close is an important stepping-stone for a life-long love for wildlife.
By swooping down onto a local Church event, it seems that PETA does not share this interest in giving the public an opportunity to get close to birds as majestic as Lizzy and Archie.