A video of GoDaddy.com founder and CEO Bob Parsons hunting and killing an elephant in Zimbabwe has raised protest from multiple corners, including PETA.
Parsons traveled to Zimbabwe earlier this year for his second annual hunt of what he calls "problem elephants," animals that destroy local villagers' crops. In the introduction to the video, Parsons writes, "Of everything I do, this is the most rewarding."
On his personal blog, Parsons said "I spend a few weeks in Zimbabwe each year helping the farmers deal with problem elephants. The people there have very little, many die each year from starvation and one of the problems they have is the elephants, of which there are thousands and thousands, that trash many of their fields destroying the crops."
Most of the elephants encountered during Parsons' 10-day trip were driven off, with one notable exception. The four-minute video depicts Parsons and his team — most wearing GoDaddy baseball caps — tracking a rogue elephant. Using a spotlight to locate the bull elephant, Parsons and his group fire at the animal and kill it. Parsons poses with the dead elephant, and the video goes on to show local villagers arriving in droves to carve up the carcass for meat — all to the tune of AC/DC's "Hells Bells."
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has decried Parsons' actions and announced that it has closed the group's account with GoDaddy, encouraging others to do the same.
In an interview with Fox 10 in Phoenix, Parsons defended his actions, saying, "So be it; I'm not ashamed of what I did ... all these people that are complaining that this shouldn't happen, that these people who are starving to death otherwise shouldn't eat these elephants, you probably see them driving through at McDonald cutting a steak. These people don't have that option."
Time magazine's Bryan Walsh points out that problem elephants are a serious threat in some parts of Africa, but that's because the animals are being squeezed into smaller and smaller territories by a growing human populations. "That doesn't mean that the best way to deal with this conflict is for rich foreigners like Parsons to make like Hemingway," Walsh writes. "There are sensible, non-lethal solutions, including chili and tobacco-based deterrents that keep elephants out of farmers' fields, or simply growing crops that elephants don't like."
You can find Parsons' video here, but be warned that some scenes are disturbing.