A 27-year-old Spanish hunter named Melania Capitan was recently found dead alongside a suicide note in her home on a farm in Huesca, Spain. Over a number of years, Capitan had received more than 3,000 comments from animal rights activists who sent death threats and suggestions of suicide.
The comments often asked for her to get a ‘beating’ or a ‘bullet to the brain’. This is common for not only hunters but meat eaters in general. The sport of animal hunting is legal in Spain and is commonly regarded with pride. Capitan regularly posted photos of her prize kills and was a promoter of hunting for young women. She defended her hobby saying it was like ‘love, eating, or sleeping.’
In response to her death, the president of the Spanish Federation of Hunting filed a criminal complaint that cited the online trolls as the very reason for Capitan’s death. The complaint states that hunting is a right in Spain, therefore those who trolled Capitan were infringing on her rights.
Capitan’s death has also sparked further calls for the law to be changed in regards to online bullying. Many residents of Spain want the action to be considered a ‘hate crime’ and for law officials to take it more seriously.
Capitan had previously been involved in a court case about the comments but it was dropped as authorship of the comments could not be easily determined. Capitan was vocal in her right to hunt, saying that she would never stop anyone from consuming a plant-based diet, therefore, no one should stop her from eating game.
“I cannot find an explanation why you call us murderers. If you want to eat leeks or celery, do it,” Capitan wrote in an online post seeking to defend herself. “If we want to eat game, we do. Let us act in our own way because in this country, at least the moment, this activity is legal.”
Unfortunately, the tension between meat eaters and animal rights activists is at an all-time high and it more than likely will not be ending soon. Capitan’s friends and family have paid tribute to her by commenting on her photos. They say she was ‘an extraordinary person’ and a ‘very brave woman’.