OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla._The Oklahoma Republican Party has issued an apology after comparing food stamp recipients to wild animals.
The post in question stated the following:
"The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 46 million people.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us 'Please Do Not Feed the Animals.' Their stated reason for the policy is because 'The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.'
Thus end's today's lesson in irony."
The message posted Monday on the Oklahoma Republican Party's Facebook page was met with harsh criticism.
About 604,000 people receive SNAP benefits in Oklahoma, mostly the elderly, disabled and children.
A Department of Human Services spokeswoman called the post "shameful."
The group says their post was misinterpreted and offered an apology to anyone who was offended.
"Last night, there was a post on our OKGOP Facebook page, and it was misinterpreted by many. I offer my apologies for those who were offended – that was not my intention.
This post was supposed to be an analogy that compared two situations illustrating the cycle of government dependency in America, not humans as animals.
However I do think that it's important to have conversations about government welfare programs since our dependency on government is at its highest level ever.
Quoting President Reagan, "We should measure welfare's success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added."
As read in our Oklahoma Republican Statement of Principles, we believe that 'free market principles are the best to stimulate our economic development rather than government subsidies or programs' and I was doing my best to echo that view.
Again, I apologize for any misconceptions that were created."