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South Dakota governor spars with PETA over viral 'social distancing' hunting video

South Dakota governor spars with PETA over viral 'social distancing' hunting video
© Stefani Reynolds

South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemThis election, Americans will once again show their support for marijuana legalization Trump town hall moderator Guthrie's performance praised, slammed on Twitter South Dakota governor blames surge in COVID-19 cases on more testing MORE (R) and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) traded barbs this week after the Republican posted a video of herself shooting a bird as a way of showing her followers how people practice social distancing in her state. 

"This is how we do social distancing in our state," Noem says in the video, holding a shotgun. 

Noem then turns and points the gun as a large bird flies through the sky, pulling the trigger and hitting it before it falls to the ground. 

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The video, posted to her official government Twitter account, racked up more than 23,000 retweets and 100,000 likes in less than 24 hours.

In a tweet of its own, PETA expressed outrage over the display. 

"Are you bonkers or just cruel?" the organization asked. "Do you call it social distancing because with such needless violence no one will want to visit your state?"

Noem responded, saying, "Many on the Left simply don’t understand our South Dakota way of life. We hunt. We fish. We pray. And we love America." 

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PETA is a nonprofit with no official political affiliations. 

Noem, an ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE's, has taken criticism from some in her state and around the country for questioning statewide lockdown measures and downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Her state earlier this month hosted a massive motorcycle rally, which has been linked to dozens of coronavirus cases. In recent weeks, the state has engaged in a tourism advertising campaign that boasts South Dakota is "open for business."