Balls on a pate: Spanish tourism minister Carlos Delgardo may have secured his own demise thanks to this photo.

Balls up: politician’s hunt photo haunts him


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A Spanish politician has become the target of abuse from animal rights groups after photos were published of him with the testicles of a dead deer perched on his head.

The Spanish media has quoted a spokesman for the Parliamentary Association for the Defence of Animals as saying Carlos Delgardo, the tourism minister for the Balearic Islands, is “an embarrassment to the country” and accusing him of animal abuse.

The photo was taken when Delgardo was a city mayor, taking part in a legal hunt in 2011 where he shot a trophy stag, but anti-hunting groups are using it to question Delgardo’s value as a tourism minister.

“What kind of tourism is he promoting here?” asked the PADA spokesman, Chesus Yuste. “This is harming Spain’s image and dragging the country back to the 11th Century.”

Spain has a strong hunting heritage, though, and an active hunting community, with many businesses geared towards it and some regions, such as Castilla La Mancha, relying on it for a significant portion of their tourism revenue.

It is apparently a local tradition to place the testicles of a hunted animal on a hunter’s head when he takes his first kill, as is bloodying his face.

Animal rights advocates have also criticised Spain’s king for taking part in hunts; the country’s branch of the World Wildlife Fund sacked him as its honorary president, a position he had held for more than 40 years.

So far Delgardo has not fallen victim to calls for his sacking from the regional tourism ministry.


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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.

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