This week, graphic video surfaced of GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons hunting and killing an elephant in Zimbabwe, the second year that he’s gone on a hunt to do so. He claims that he does this to help the poor farmers in the area, where elephants trample crops. Not surprisingly, a lot of people are mad. From PETA and HSUS (the expected voices against anything involving animals, though they’re correct in anger at this one) as well as Change.org. (Here are two stories from PC Magazine and Wired on the fallout)
So what’s the big deal? The African Elephant is a vulnerable species. While not endangered, they are in trouble. Not only that, it’s his attitude. He truly believes that his yearly game hunt is changing the lives of these poor farmers, and indeed has said he plans on doing it again. He’s defended his behavior and says that he doesn’t understand the outrage- it isn’t like he killed one from a zoo.
Well, here’s the big deal. If he was really interested in making a difference- to help the farmers who’ve tried all sorts of methods from fires to drums, and as he believes that the methods that PETA and Change.org have mentioned won’t work (beehives and chili spiked fencing)… he could put money into trying to find something that will. Because ultimately, all he’s doing is sparing a field from one elephant. Unless they’re also moving elephants to wildlife preserves or somewhere that is protected… he isn’t actually doing anything other than giving the village people some elephant meat once a year. As much as we like to humanize animals, I’m not sure an elephant is capable of realizing that Bob Parsons will be back each year unless they leave these fields alone.
I don’t use GoDaddy, more because I had an issue when my domain was with them and wasn’t happy with their customer service. So, I can’t take my service away from them. But you can. Look, I don’t like HSUS or PETA. They tend to glom onto outrageously stupid ideas (like mandatory spay/neuter bills) and pour most of their money into political lobbying, rather than helping animals. (Note: I am for the Humane Society… the individual chapters, which aren’t affiliated with the HSUS. Money you donate to the HSUS does not go to your local shelter. It goes for political lobbying) So when I’m actually agreeing with them, you know it’s outrageous.
Of course, Bob Parsons wants you to know that it’s all okay. “I have two dogs, and I love ‘em to pieces.”