Piers Morgan asks Aryanna Gourdin, 12-year-old hunter, ‘What if I killed your pet cat?’.
Aryanna Gourdin appeared on Good Morning Britain alongside her father amid a row over photos she has posted of giraffes, deer and other animals they have hunted on her Facebook page. Both were wearing ‘stand up to anti-hunter bullying’ T-shirts for the interview.
Morgan questioned the juxtaposition of these images next to other ones on her Facebook page of her cuddling her pet cat at the family home in Utah.
Appearing puzzled, she replied: “I’m not allowed pets because I hunt?”
“How would you feel if I came and killed your pet cat and I posted pictures of me celebrating the killing,” Morgan repeated.
Trophy hunting has become an increasingly controversial practice after criticism of high-profile hunters such as Rebecca Francis and the killing of Cecil, one of Zimbabwe’s most beloved lions. Aryanna’s Facebook posts have been met with an angry backlash and she says she has even received death threats.
“I’m very upset that people would value an animal’s life over another person’s,” she added.
“I try to ignore most of the comments I get but I do read some by accident. I just try to not let them get to me.
“It won’t stop me hunting,” she continued. “I will always hunt. It’s something that thousands of people do and it’s never going to stop.”
Her father has also defended their hunts, saying a giraffe was offered as a target because it was a “problem animal” and the meat was donated to the local village.
Aryanna has given a number of interviews since her pictures prompted outrage and insists she and her father are animal lovers who “also love hunting”. In separate interviews, her father said they will never apologise for being hunters.
Advocates of trophy hunting argue it is legal and supports conservation, an argument supported by the Duke of Cambridge who in March claimed commercial hunting could save some endangered species in Africa.
“There is a place for commercial hunting in Africa as there is around the world,” he said. “It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but the arguments for regulated, properly controlled commercial hunting is that the money that goes from shooting a very old infirm animal goes back into the protection of the other species.”