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Larysa Switlyk: American TV host may face criminal charges over hunting in Scotland after posing with dead goat

The Independent logo The Independent 24/12/2018 Lizzie Dearden

© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited A “professional huntress” who sparked outrage after posting pictures of herself with dead stags and goats shot in Scotland could face criminal charges.

Larysa Switlyk, an American television presenter, has been reported to prosecutors for possible firearms offences.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “Following several complaints of wild goat ‘trophy’ hunting on Islay in September, Police Scotland can confirm that a 33-year-old woman and a 41-year-old man from the US have been reported to the procurator fiscal for firearms offences.”

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Ms Switlyk, who hosts the Larysa Unleashed programme, was widely criticised after posting a picture of herself smiling behind a dead wild goat in the autumn, with more than 20,000 people commenting on the image.

One tweet posted to tens of thousands of followers described a “fun hunt” and “a perfect 200 yard shot”.

She also shared photos on Twitter and Instagram showing herself with dead stags and sheep on the island of Islay and in the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

One photo showing Ms Switlyk in camouflage with a dead stag was captioned: “In awe of my Scottish Stag – can’t wait to bring it back to the castle for the chefs to cook it up!”

Ms Switlyk said she had also killed a “beautiful wild goat” while posing with the dead animal.

The image was widely criticised online with more than 2,800 people commenting on the picture, with Twitter users calling Ms Switlyk “sickening” and “truly abhorrent”.

“Scottish people don’t support you coming to our country and murdering our animals, simple as that,” one person commented on Instagram.

The other image showed a man posing behind a white goat, with the caption: “Congrats on Jason on his gold medal goat here in Scotland on Islay. A unique hunt.”

Mike Russell, the MSP for Argyll and Bute, wrote at the time: “If this is actually happening on Islay, and laid on by some sort of tour company I would want to see it stopped immediately.”

Ms Switlyk said she received death threats over the photos, writing on social media that she hoped a two-week break “will give enough time for all the ignorant people out there sending me death threats to get educated on hunting and conservation”.

Ms Switlyk has been promoting a line T-shirts created in response to the outrage, which are being sold on her official website.

The former accountant said profits from the items, with slogans including “don’t let me get your goat” and “eat more goat”, would go to fund conservation efforts.

The Scottish government has said it would review the law around animal culling following widespread outrage when the photos emerged in October.

A spokesperson said: “We fully understand why so many people find these images of hunted animals being held up as trophies so upsetting.

“Responsible and appropriate culling of animals is a necessary part of sustainable land management and the culling of some wild animals, including deer and goats, is not illegal.

“However, we understand the concerns caused by these images and, in light of them, the environment secretary will review the situation and consider whether any clarification of or changes to the law might be required.”

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