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GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons Tries to Defend Elephant Killing

By April 5, 2011

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GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons

CEO and founder of GoDaddy.com, Bob Parsons, posted a video of himself shooting and killing an elephant in Zimbabwe, and wants you to think he's a great guy for it.

In his video titled, "Hunting Problem Elephant," Parsons points out trampled crops and claims the farmer wants the elephant killed. After he is killed, locals butcher the elephant for meat. A separate photo shown on Piers Morgan, depicts a smiling Parsons proudly holding up his rifle next to the elephant's lifeless body.

But Parsons messed up when he appeared on Piers Morgan on Monday evening and tried to defend his actions against both Morgan's questions and criticism from PETA's Dan Matthews. Parsons claimed, "They attacked us," but seemed to forget that he flew thousands of miles to another continent to hide in a dark sorghum field, waiting to ambush these animals.

Then Parsons revealed the true nature of the hunt. Objecting to Matthews' use of the term "bloodlust," Parsons replied, "The reason there is any game at all is because hunters support the area. They step up. They pay the money for game management." What happened to his "problem elephant" story? As we all know, it's not about problem elephants. It's about recreation. Game. Trophies.

When interviewed by CBS, he made it clear that he plans to keep killing elephants.

Parsons is an avid hunter. An earlier video shows him shooting a leopard, but that video has been removed from both YouTube and Video.me. And according to Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS, "the current edition of Safari Club International's magazine shows an array of animal heads mounted on his wall as trophies."

Isn't it illegal?

The Zimbabwean population of African elephants is listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international treaty that regulates the international trade in the bodies and body parts of protected species. Species that are threatened with extinction, including some populations of African elephants and all Asian elephants, are listed under Appendix I of CITES. Species listed under Appendix II are "not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival." Under CITES, the trade in the hides of these elephants is legal, and the importation of a personally hunted trophy is allowed.

African elephants are also listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. The ESA bans the "taking" of a listed species, but since the shooting took place on foreign soil, there is no ESA violation.

So, as Parsons correctly points out, "Those elephants are not on the brink of extinction." But extinction is not the issue. While some are offended because African elephants are theatened, some people are angry because they believe that elephants are special. Words like, "noble," "sensitive," "intelligent" or "majestic" are frequently used to describe them. But from an animal rights perspective, it doesn't matter how noble, intelligent or special people think they are. The issue is that they sentient and they suffer, and neither an elephant nor a cow wants to become somebody's dinner or trophy.

What you can do: Some animal advocates, including HSUS and PETA, are switching hosting companies. PETA even gave Parsons their first Scummiest CEO of the Year" award. At least one registrar took advantage of the situation. Namecheap.com condemned the killing and offered a coupon code to transfer domains from GoDaddy for only $4.99.

Lastly, if you're offended by the killing of this elephant, please think about the millions of chickens, cows and pigs who are killed every day and go vegan.

Mike Moore / Getty Images

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April 7, 2011 at 8:41 am
(1) VegChica says:

I never like the fact that GoDaddy CEO was a trophy hunter, supported rodeos etc, which is why I started VegChica.com to collect my domain portfolio, and offer an alternative animal friendly registrar. Domain registration is $14.95 for a .com and the net profits from VegChica are donated to Peta. There is no bait and switch where you sign up and the next year you get charged a lot for your domain renewal. It is a smaller boutique registrar that offers personalized service. http://vegchica.com/

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