Tess Talley, an American trophy hunter who went viral in 2018 after posting a picture of a giraffe she’d killed, spoke out for the first time since the controversy in an interview with CBS aired this week.
The image, which showed Talley posing next to a dead giraffe she’d bagged during a trip to South Africa in 2017, sparked widespread backlash.
Talley spoke to “CBS This Morning” on Friday and revealed that the worldwide outcry hadn’t dulled her passion for hunting.
“It’s a hobby, it’s something that I love to do,” she said and explained that the 2017 kill was part of a conservation effort to manage the wildlife population in the area.
“He was delicious,” Talley told CBS News’ Adam Yamaguchi when he asked about the particular kill that made her one of the world’s most infamous hunters.
She also revealed that she’d made a gun case and decorative pillows out of the old black giraffe.
“I am proud to hunt. And I am proud of that giraffe,” Talley told a “CBS This Morning” studio panel.
Co-host Tony Dokoupil pressed her on the seeming “pleasure” and “joy” she got out of hunting.
Talley was unapologetic.
“You do what you love to do. It’s joy,” she said. “If you don’t love what you do, you’re not gonna continue to do it.”
“CBS This Morning” co-host Dana Jacobson alluded to previous comments Talley made, in which she said she felt “remorse” after killing an animal.
“If there’s remorse, why do it?” Jacobson asked.
“Everybody thinks that the easiest part is pulling the trigger. And it’s not,” Talley replied. “That’s the hardest part. But you gain so much respect, and so much appreciation for that animal because you know what that animal is going through. They are put here for us. We harvest them, we eat them.”
Talley said she was “surprised” by the reaction to the photo she posted to social media showing off her kill.
“It got really bad. I received mail at my house. They were spreading out addresses where they think that I may be. They were showing up at my work. They were calling my employer, trying to get me fired,” she revealed.
Tess Talley hunting controversy as part of a larger ideological divide
The issue of trophy hunting and the triumphal post-kill images displayed on social media have sparked a divide split largely along ideological lines.
@CBSThisMorning #TessTalley is rationalizing (and not well) that killing these animals is helping them? This argument is what caused people to blindly follow many unethical causes: Nazism, Racism, Sexism, etc. you can rationalize anything that doesn’t make it right.
— Mike (@OrlandoStands) June 7, 2019
It’s perhaps not surprising that American liberals – and their historic advocacy for animal rights, as well as a relative skepticism toward the utility of firearms – are often the group most outraged by trophy hunting photos. The partisan element was made blatant in 2018 after the animal rights advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sponsored an ad slamming Donald Trump, Jr., an avid game hunter who has been criticized for photos showing him and brother Eric posing next to their kills.
EXCLUSIVE: Hunter Tess Talley is speaking out for the first time since her photo of a giraffe she killed in South Africa in 2017 prompted worldwide outrage.
In a new CBSN Originals documentary, @adamyamaguchi followed her as she tracked a wildebeest on a wildlife ranch. pic.twitter.com/94Qc52KIAg
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) June 7, 2019
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