Morning Poll: Is Go Daddy CEO's Elephant "Snuff Film" Offensive?

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Earlier this month, Scottsdale-based Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons made a video of himself shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe. As villagers butcher the animal (many whom were wearing orange Go Daddy hats) the video has AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" playing in the background (see video below). As expected, animal rights activists went nuts.

The website change.org is a forum for angry activists to create e-petitions supporting various causes. An animal rights activist from Los Angeles used the site to start a petition called "Tell Go Daddy's CEO: Real Men Don't Kill Elephants."

Parsons, however, says the elephant he shot iwas a "problem elephant" that destroyed the villagers' crops, and offing the elephant was his way of helping the locals.

"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," Parsons wrote on his blog earlier this week.

Laura Goldman, the creator of the petition against Parsons, says "while Parsons fancies himself a hero, the fact is there are many more humane, gun-free ways to keep elephants away from crops."

We want to know what you think: is Parsons shooting an elephant offensive?

Cast your vote below.


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15 comments
Guest from Canada
Guest from Canada

Many of you seem as oblivious to the REAL truths about the plight of both the elephants and other nonhumans AND the humans living in Zimbabwe, as good' ol' Bob The Emotional IQless & Intellectually Challenged is. Here....why don't you learn something before you stupidly and ignorantly support such barbaric acts?

http://www.aolnews.com/2011/04...

Hunters, a despicable lot, who belong in museums.

Humane humans
Humane humans

How is it that people can pretend to be so compassionate toward the creatures that live on this planet and yet show such vile hatred toward their fellow man?

The real Africa
The real Africa

eBay Ivory Ban May Hurt ConservationBy Brendan Borrell

URL: http://green.msn.com/Home/eBay...

If, like me, you have always wanted to get a carved, elephant-ivory snuff box for that special someone, this holiday season may well be your last opportunity. The online auction site eBay announced on Oct. 20 that it would ban nearly all ivory sales on its auction sites. In November, the company was embarrassed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which estimated that it was hosting an elephant-ivory trade in the United States worth $3.2 million per year.

This may seem like another example of corporate greenwashing—a way for the auction site to paper over its misdeeds and parade around as a concerned environmental steward. In fact, the new policy is directly at odds with mainstream conservationists. Just one week after eBay made its big announcement, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species—with support from WWF—was going forward with a one-time auction of government ivory stockpiles from elephants that either died of natural causes or had been culled in population-control programs in four southern African countries. These sales netted $15 million, earmarked for elephant conservation and local community-development programs. Although international laws governing the ivory trade are complex, the truth is that most of the ivory being sold on eBay was totally legal. More to the point, buying ivory online may actually be a good thing for conservation: The more snuff boxes we demand, the better chance that elephants and their ecosystems have to withstand the pressures of modernization.Wild elephants are never going to be tolerated in Africa so long as locals cannot profit from the animals’ most valuable asset: those 120-pound teeth. As journalist John Frederick Walker argues in his provocative new book,Ivory’s Ghosts: The White Gold of History and the Fate of Elephants (to be published in January), the high regard with which American zoo-goers hold these proboscideans is not shared by poverty-stricken farmers in Kenya, who must contend with 4-ton living bulldozers rampaging their cassava fields and threatening their lives. Flip through African newspapers, and you’ll find lurid headlines describing trampled schoolchildren, panicked villagers, and nightly curfews. Americans would not put up with life under those conditions, yet we have imposed this imperial vision on a far-off continent that we imagine as our private zoo.

The elephant problem is equally vexing inside the national parks of Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, whose burgeoning elephant populations must be managed to avoid their overwhelming the ecosystem. Elephants are the largest living land mammal, each consuming as much as 600 pounds of vegetation a day and drinking 50 gallons of water. In 1970, a hands-off policy to Kenya’s elephants in Tsavo National Park provided a bitter lesson to those who opposed culling. After ravaging the park’s fragile vegetation during a season of drought, elephants began dying by the thousands. Animals whose meat could have supported the region’s desperate farmers and whose ivory could have provided $3 million for conservation were rotting in the blazing sun. In the years since, South African wildlife managers have refined culling procedures to minimize trauma to elephant family groups, and they catalog and store ivory under lock and key in anticipation of future auctions.

But pragmatic approaches to elephant conservation took a blow in 1989, when celebrities Brigitte Bardot and Jimmy Stewart joined animal rights campaigns to fight the “elephant holocaust” being conducted by poachers and, by implication, wildlife managers. According to Walker, the WWF and the African Wildlife Foundation “felt it prudent … to keep quiet about the value of sustainable use policies.” Although no African or Western countries initially supported a ban on the ivory trade, by the end of the year they were on the losing end of the battle for public opinion. On Oct. 8, in Lausanne, Switzerland, CITES listed African elephants as Appendix I, effectively cutting off ivory sales, putting Asian importers and carving shops out of business, and turning “white gold” into a social no-no. “In the aftermath of the decision,” Walker writes, “the ivory market collapsed as ivory prices plummeted.”

The latest effort to humiliate eBay represents another example of an animal rights organization hijacking the African conservation agenda with an untenable vision that may do more harm than good. Advocates for a ban on ivory claim the CITES auction gives unscrupulous traders a chance to launder poached goods. But a wildlife trade monitoring program set up by WWF and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has found that illegal-ivory seizures have declined in the five years following the last ivory auction approved by CITES in 1999. It appears that a flush of legal ivory from these auctions knocks out black-market dealers. While poaching remains a problem in Central and East Africa, the data suggest that those activities feed domestic African markets, not online auctioneers in the United States.

Most of the ivory that was being sold on eBay may not have been illegal at all. A good deal of ivory in the country simply predates the 1989 ban, and interstate sale of ivory is not tightly regulated or monitored. As for imports, residents can bring in licensed hunting trophies for personal use or antique ivory items more than 100 years old. The IFAW report on eBay simply identified certain auctions as “likely violations” or “possible violations” of the law, based on the wording used in listings. According to the study, just 15.5 percent of ivory goods on the site fell into the “likely violation” category. Turn those figures around, and it’s clear that eBay also supported a vibrant, legal ivory market.

The only way to improve this market is through transparency, and eBay was ideally suited to play such a role. Because the site maintains a database of every auction, the final sale price, and the parties involved, it could provide a valuable tool for law-enforcement officers and conservation organizations. With those data, it would be possible to track the volume of the ivory trade and help identify questionable buyers and sellers based on their transaction patterns. Once the market moves offline—and to classifieds sites such as Craigslist—this sort of monitoring will be largely impossible.

If eBay wanted to take a stand for conservation, it should have partnered with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service—and notified its users that any purchase or sale of wildlife products will be recorded in a government database. Add to this the eventual possibility of spot checks using DNA testing, and we’d be well on our way to a sustainable, digital marketplace. Given such a framework, ivory would regain its respectability, and it might even be possible to open our borders to the importation of newly worked ivory from registered sellers abroad. After two decades under the ban, it’s finally time to admit that saving elephants requires pulling a few teeth.

Brendan Borrell is correspondent for the Scientist and has written about wildlife for Smithsonian and Natural History. His e-mail address is bborrell@hotmail.com.

Copyright 2008 Washington Post.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC.

Stacey Cunningham
Stacey Cunningham

what a complete a-hole!! elephants are majestic creatures and should not be killed for sport! i hope people think again before using his services from now on. i will never use godaddy again! Im sorry but I cant support this type of behavior. lets send a message loud and clear! if you have sites with godaddy move them to a different provider! I moved my sites today to ferngullygraphics for hosting take that bob parsons!

Mary Cummins
Mary Cummins

This was a paid hunting trip with the African Safari Company. From their website, "Hunting Safaris in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe offer the chance to get up close and personal with the "Big Five". Here is your chance to get the trophy you have always dreamed about." They even have a Facebook page with a photo of Bob and his "hunting group." The two buddies mentioned in his videos are paid safari elephant hunters. His wife even posted that he had a good time hunting.

After he killed the elephant he leaned against it, put the butt of his rifle on the dead bleeding elephant's head and smiled for the camera. That is trophy hunting. His trophy was the photo and video.

There are better ways for him to help the villagers. He could have used the money he spent on the hunting trip to help provide humane ways to control the elephants.

Mary CumminsAnimal Advocates

Inquiring minds
Inquiring minds

How much money have you sent to Zimbabwe?

Who are you to speak for the villagers of this town?

What exactly are the humane ways to control an over populated elephants herd?

Len Waugh
Len Waugh

This is hunting for the safty of people and for food. There is nothing wrong with this. Just animal rights activists causing trouble.

k.p. the Bushman
k.p. the Bushman

LC what do you know?do you just get all your information from the tube? What is happening in Africa is whats happening everywhere - Man is drastically altering the habitat and balance of nature.Did anybody tell you that the lion will be an endangered species soon? that it once roamed a huge area of Africa but is now only left in three major areas?bleeding hearts? no, just people that hate twats with guns destroying the future generations planet.

K.P
K.P

just looking at the poll seems theres a lot of people completely oblivious to the plight of Zimbabwe's people.. their starving because their country is run by a bloody dictator! if your so unsure of whats happeneing then lift a finger and google it dont make unjudged comments.The richest area along the Zambezi river has been decimated of wildlife th feed the greedy dictators sidekicks, tell you what google robert mugabes mansion and see whos destroying the people.You really think that money went to the farmers? no bloody way! What that egotisitical short arsed prick was doing was massaging his EGO. But hes just one of Many Americans killing endangered species in Africa.for what?? because they like killing things for their fun.And before all you non passport holders get riled up about my comments......Ive been to Africa many many times. so i think i know what im talking about. do you?

Zimbabwe1
Zimbabwe1

In Zimbabwe, African Elephants are over populated and they have virtually NO natural predators. They need to be kept in check or they will completely destroy the fragile vegetation and turn it into desert. Elephants are very destructive feeders pushing trees over and destroying vast areas of crops. Hunting keeps the elephant population under control, is beneficial to the local economy and supplies meat for the locals.

Female elephants begin to reproduce between 12 - 15 years of age. They live between 50 -70 years and calve every three years or so. That means that one female elephant can produce around 15 offspring in her lifetime. Left unchecked, you can see how populations get out of control and why we need to take action to keep them in check.

Clearly, there are places in Africa where the elephant population has been decimated by poachers over their ivory. But not all of Africa is in a short supply of elephants. Further, when an elephant has economic value to the community, it will be protected. Without economic value to the community, the poachers just wipe them out and no one complains because they are dangerous and a nuisance to the local farmers. Just ask yourself how you feel about a 5 ton bulldozer living in your back yard that can stomp you and your children to death on a moment’s notice. These are not circus animals, these are the real deal. They are wild and unpredictable animals that can turn on you at a moments’ notice. They kill hundreds of people every year much of which you never hear about in the States.

Also, the black market sales of ivory have largely been stopped thanks to African Government intervention so poaching has dropped off significantly.

These animals need to be managed and culled. Hunting is no doubt the best strategy for doing this in Africa.

The Lewd Ood
The Lewd Ood

"In Zimbabwe, African Elephants are over populated and they have virtually NO natural predators."

Wanna give us a source for the over-population claim? And I'd like to see one that's isn't based on Zimbabwe gov't numbers, which have been known to be over-inflated in an effort to restart the ivory trade. Remember, Zimbabwe is ruled by Robert Mugabe, one of the world's worst dictators.

This was a sport hunt. Period. As such, it wouldn't have been an issue at all if this boob didn't:A) Film the whole thing and then post it onlineB) Slap corp.-branded hats on the oblivious localsC) Come up with the BS excuse that "I went there to kill a problem elephant". Yeah, sure. I can just picture the letter the little village child sent him -- "Dear white billionaire American, could you please come to our village in Zimbabwe and rid us of the evil elephant that threatens our farms? We will supply a large-caliber rifle, ammunition, guides and transportation, we only need someone as brave as you to pull the trigger. Please come quickly, as we are very scared of this demonic pachyderm. Thank you."

The guy deserves the blowback he's getting, and I'm just glad he's denting his company's image before he's able to divest himself of it. You reap what you sow, champ.

Zimbabwe1
Zimbabwe1

"Wanna give us a source for the over-population claim? And I'd like to see one that isn't based on Zimbabwe gov't numbers, which have been known to be over-inflated in an effort to restart the ivory trade."

Sure, here's the first source I came across, it's from “The World Wide Fund for Nature and African Wildlife Foundation.” Here’s what they write:

Booming elephant population wreaks havoc in Zimbabwe

Thulani Mpofu, The National

December 23. 2009 KENNILWORTH // An increasing elephant population is forcing the animals from wildlife reserves and into greater contact with people, leading to an economic and environmental crisis in parts of Zimbabwe where some are calling for greater numbers of the animals to be culled.

The World Wide Fund for Nature and African Wildlife Foundation estimate that Zimbabwe has 110,000 elephants, above the optimum capacity of between 45,000 and 50,000. For communities living next to the wildlife reserves where the elephants are flourishing, the increased numbers are proving dangerous, destroying farmland, driving people from their homes and, at times, trampling people to death.

In Kennilworth, 90km north of the capital Bulawayo, Relney Nqadini, a villager, has started planting crops during torrential rains on his plot. But harvests in this area are dependent not only on how much it rains, but also whether elephants will spare the villagers’ fields.

“In April this year, they ate all my crops, just as I was about to harvest,” said Mr Nqadini. “Days of labour came to nothing as they [elephants] destroyed everything we had planted. Even if it rains the way it is doing now, this is not a guarantee for a good harvest.”

The elephants that raid Kennilworth come from the nearby Debshan Ranch and Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest animal sanctuary.

“They raid our fields at night,” he said. “So we build bonfires and beat drums to try to scare them away but they soon get used to the tricks.” Another villager in the area, Luke Mupengesi, said: “Sometimes if we make fires, they get irritable and attack us, so we flee our homes into the mountains.”

When elephants raid their area, villagers seek help from Bubi rural district council, the only authority that can kill problem animals in the area. But often, Mr Mupengesi said, council officials are out of bullets for shooting the animals or fuel to drive to their hideouts.

The elephant problem in Kennilworth is mirrored in other areas across Zimbabwe. The elephant population is concentrated in the Hwange, Gonarezhou and Chizarira national parks, but there are a significant number in private conservancies.

Morris Mutsambiwa, the director-general of the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, said the population is rising by five per cent every year. He said that due to their increasing numbers, elephants are not only a danger to the environment, human beings and other wildlife, but to themselves.Source: http://www.savetheelephants.or...

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Caroline Weynerowski
Caroline Weynerowski

By killing an elephant, he's perhaps spared the farmers from raiding in the very short term sense. This guy is filthy rich - he could have done so much more than take pleasure in killing an endangered species then claim it was a good deed because starving farmers got to eat for a day. Just one day. This guy is FILTHY rich. He could have taken that 12,000$ fee to shoot and kill an elephant and donate it instead to the farmers he claims to care so much about. But no, he just fed them for a day and pissed off the elephants. They always come back to raid again but with more aggression because you know what they say "elephants never forget." Bob Parsons is deluded if he thinks he;s made any true contribution to resolving Human/Elephant conflicts and/or starvation of farmers.

Inkslinger222
Inkslinger222

Definetely other ways of dealing with the problem, elephants are too precious to just "off".

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