Animal rights activists could not have been surprised recently, when someone fired a shotgun and hit the small, remote-controlled helicopter they were using to observe a pigeon shoot in Berks County. For someone shooting at live pigeons as they were released from cages, the temptation to take out a picture-taking drone apparently was irresistible.

Pennsylvanians should be surprised, however, that their state government continues to be an outlier - the only state left that sanctions such barbaric cruelty to animals.

The issue has nothing to do with gun ownership. Weapons used to slaughter captive birds as they are released just as readily can be used to shoot at inanimate targets.

Sen. Pat Browne, a Lehigh County Republican, introduced a bill at the beginning of the Legislature's 2011-2012 session that would ban the use of live fowl for targets. It quickly passed the Senate Judiciary Committee but never made it to floor, even though Mr. Browne is the majority whip.

He should introduce the bill early in the next session of the Legislature and urge his fellow legislative leaders to give it higher priority. Pennsylvania's approval of bird slaughters for fun isn't just barbaric, it's an embarrassment to the commonwealth.