“It’s like entering someone’s farm and shooting one of their cows.” – Niklas Jonsson, Swedish reindeer herder
Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén is likely to have illegally downed a reindeer during his hunting trip in Sweden last year.
Swedish reindeer herder Niklas Jonsson claims a reindeer downed by the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) chairman during the hunting trip was not wild game but one of the about 300 domesticated animals that he owns, Swedish print and online daily tabloid Aftonbladet reported on Thursday. Jonsson says that based on the ear-mark seen on the downed animal he could identify the reindeer as his own without any doubt. Jonsson’s father also confirmed that the animal had belonged to his son’s herd.
According to the Swedish reindeer herder, the herd wanders over a large area and thus it is hard to keep track of all the animals, but he does not have a clue how the animal was taken. “It’s like entering someone’s farm and shooting one of their cows,” Jonsson told Aftonbladet. He vowed to file a report with the police.
Earlier Hungarian wildlife filmmaker Gábor Török who had made several films about reindeer in Sweden noted in a Facebook post that has since been removed that wild reindeer became all but extinct in Sweden about 150 years ago, therefore it is impossible that Semjén downed a wild animal. According to Török, during the autumn herding season Sami reindeer herders usually sort out larger bulls, whose flesh is untasty after the breeding season, and for a fee they allow tourists to shoot them.
It was revealed in March by print and online daily Magyar Nemzet that Semjén has been going on hunting trips in Sweden since 2012, financed by businessman József Farkas whose companies fared quite well in state procurements in recent years. The deputy prime minister rejected accusations of conflict of interests.