A giraffe she killed in 2017 was “delicious,” said a Kentucky trophy hunter when she appeared on “CBS This Morning” over the weekend.
The remarks made Friday by Tess Thompson Talley, from Johnson County, come nearly a year after she received heavy internet backlash when photos of her smiling next to a dead black giraffe from a 2017 hunt resurfaced.
The giraffe was killed in South Africa, one of many African countries where trophy hunting is legal. Talley told the CBS hosts she is proud to hunt as a hobby.
Animal protection activists say the African giraffe population is imperiled by hunting.
Although Talley wrote in the since-deleted 2017 Facebook post that the black giraffe she killed was rare, she later told Fox News that the “breed is not rare in any way other than it was very old. Giraffes get darker with age.”
Talley told CBS Friday that the giraffe slaying was part of a conservation hunt. “We are preserving the wildlife. We are managing herds.”
The giraffe Talley killed in 2017 was used to make decorative pillows and a gun case. She also said the giraffe, “was delicious.”
“They are put here for us,” Talley said Friday. “We harvest them. We eat them. It’s not just U.S. I’m OK for providing for my family and my friends with wild game meat, which is fabulous. But I’m also OK with providing meat across the globe.”
Talley was surprised by the backlash from the giraffe photo, which she said she posted to update her friends and her family. The post was widely distributed in 2018 by Africa Digest, which asked followers to share it. About 48,000 people retweeted the images. Subsequently, she received death threats and calls were made to her employer to try to get her fired, Talley said.
In a statement to CBS News, Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, said: “Trophy hunting of giraffe shows sheer and arrogant disregard for the imperiled status of an iconic species.”
“A 2015 estimate found that fewer than 100,000 giraffes remain in the wild in Africa, and our 2018 investigation revealed that nearly 4,000 giraffe-derived trophies were imported into the U.S. over the last decade,” she stated. “More than one giraffe is killed every day. There has been an overall population decline of 40 percent over the last 30 years.”
The trophy hunting industry provides more than 14,000 jobs, according to a study by Texas A&M.
Some celebrities were among Talley’s harshest critics when the photos were shared.
Ricky Gervais asked, “What must’ve happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal and then lie next to it smiling?”
Actress Debra Messing said she is disgusted by people like Talley and called her a “vile, amoral, heartless, selfish murderer.”
“You reek of privilege and ignorance. Shame on you,” Messing, star of “Will & Grace,” said last year.
Talley told CBS she would not hunt if it did not contribute to conservation efforts.
“Just knock down animals just to be knocking them down, and it not helping anything? No,” she told CBS.