Hunter made ‘decorative pillows’ from giraffe
An American trophy hunter who was inundated with death threats on social media after she posted a photo of herself with a giraffe she killed says the animal was "delicious", revealing she had made a gun case and "decorative pillows" out of the carcass.
Tess Thompson Talley from Texas, who gained notoriety after her photo went viral last year, told CBS yesterday she was proud to be a hunter because "it's conservation".
"Conservationists need us hunters to fund them," she claimed.
She showed a reporter the case and pillows she made out of the giraffe and defended the trophy photos taken by many smiling hunters with the animals they killed.
"This is a part of the black giraffe that I shot - black due to old age - something that I can take around with me and have him with me on all of my hunts. I got the gun case made and I had decorative pillows made out of him and everybody loves them," Ms Talley said.
"He (the giraffe) was delicious. Hahaha. He really was. Not only was he beautiful and majestic, he was good.
"We always take pictures with our harvest. That's what we do, that's what they've always done. There's nothing wrong with that.
"The pictures are a tradition that hunters have done long before social media. When social media came around, that's when there was an issue, that's when people started backlashing and they had a platform."
Her original post said the giraffe was more than 18 years old, weighed 4,000 pounds (1814kg) and yielded 2000 pounds (907kg) of meat.
She admitted she had been surprised by the heavy criticism she received on social media for posting a photo of herself smiling with the dead giraffe, with comedian Ricky Gervais and actress Debra Messing leading a storm of protest against her.
"I was surprised, I wasn't expecting things to go as crazy as they did. I was posting that for myself, my friends and my family and the tons of like-minded people that I associate with and communicate with on social media," Ms Talley told CBS.
"It got really bad. I received mails at my house, they're spreading out addresses where they think I may be, they were showing up at my work, they're calling my employer, trying to get me fired. I have a great employer and he supports me all the way."
Asked if she was still hunting despite the negative outpouring towards her, she said: "Absolutely!
"It is a hobby, it is something I love to do. It's conservation, at this hunt in particular, it was a conservation hunt. We are preserving the wildlife.
"We are managing herds, we are managing numbers of wildlife, and we're hunters and we're proud to be a hunter (sic). I am proud to hunt and I am proud of that giraffe.
"You do what you love to do. It's joy, if you don't enjoy it you're not going to continue to do it."
She said shooting an animal dead allowed her to "respect" the animal.
"You gain so much respect and so much appreciation for the animal because you know what that animal is going through. They are put here for us, you know, we harvest them, we eat them.
"I am okay with providing for my family and my friends with meat, wild game meat, which is fabulous, but I'm also okay with providing meat across the globe. And they depend on that.
"It's tough, it's a science, it's really hard. I'm not a conservationist, I'm a hunter. I do my part. Conservationists need us hunters to fund them."