Tell GoDaddy CEO: stop shooting elephants

Last week, I couldn’t go to cnn.com without seeing the link to the awful story about Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy. Parsons hunts wild elephants for sport and decided to capture his latest exploit on video. If his intent was to shock, horrify, or otherwise “impress” viewers, Parsons succeeded. The footage he sent around the Internet is haunting:

http://www.video.me/ViewVideo.aspx?vid=380843&ci=23763

Marshall, our VP of engineering here at DogTime, immediately decided to drop GoDaddy and go with another DNS registrar. I couldn’t have more respect for his decision. And it seems many other sites are thinking similarly — the termination process is taking more time than expected on the GoDaddy side, as the company, ostensibly, is flooded with requests to discontinue service.

Next to dogs, elephants are my favorite animal. The impetus for my 2007 trip to Africa was a visit to the Sheldrick elephant orphanage outside Nairobi. (If you’re curious, I wrote about the life-affirming experience in a piece for ZoeNature.org. I’ve since traveled back to Africa and to Asia for more elephant observation.)

In his video, Parsons bragged about killing a rogue bull who was raiding the sorghum crops of local villagers. (More here on why specialists agree that Parson’s actions were more harmful than helpful to the villagers.) But experts who’ve viewed the footage say the elephant was almost certainly a female. Perhaps she had offspring still dependent on her for food and care, like the many orphaned calves I saw at Sheldrick.

Parsons told Time Magazine’s environmental writer Bryan Walsh that his gaming expedition cost upwards of $60,000. To which Walsh responds: “That’s obviously money that could have gone to any number of organizations that deal with human-wildlife conflict…” Indeed, scholars and conservationists concur that here are better (read: more compassionate) and less expensive ways to keep wildlife from trampling crops. There are more sustainable, healthier ways to feed villagers too.

As disgusted as I was to hear about the hunt – and see the images of a smug, gloating Parsons reveling in the elephant’s painful death – I was equally offended by his statements afterwards. His proclamations about being an animal lover ring as true as Michael Vick’s do, as he claims he “loves his dogs to pieces.” I hope Bob Parsons doesn’t love his dogs in the same way he “loves” other animals.

And with the elephant population currently on the endangered species list, I hope GoDaddy goes the way of the dinosaurs.