A warning: The video below is pretty graphic. It depicts GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons on a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe earlier this month. In the middle of the night, Parsons, along with his African guides, ambush and shoot what Parsons calls a "problem elephant": "[Zimbabweans] have very little," says Parsons. "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."
The morning after Parsons kills the elephant, he videotapes hungry Zimbabweans as they field dress the bull in a frantic quest for food. "These people have literally nothing and when an elephant is killed it's a big event for them," says Parsons. "They are going to be able to eat some protein. This is no different than you or I eating beef."
But many viewers have been offended by the video. Maybe it's the way AC/DC's "Hells Bells" kicks in as the villagers slash the carcass. Maybe it's the shameless branding—as one lingering close-up makes clear, several of the famished Zimbabwean villagers are wearing GoDaddy baseball caps. At any rate, comments on Parsons' GoDaddy video channel, where he initially posted this video, have been almost universally negative in tone—"I don't know what's worse: you murdering a defenseless and endangered animal or thinking it's cool to brag and post a video about it"—and many people say they're going to boycott GoDaddy, a web hosting company.
Parsons full explanation, and, again, the graphic video, below.
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. The tribal authorities request that I and others like me, patrol the fields before and during the harvest -- we can't cover them all, there are just a few of us -- and drive the elephant from the fields. The farmers try to run the elephants away by cracking whips, beating drums and lighting fires. All of this is ignored by the elephants. When my team catch elephants in a field (there are never just one) we typically kill one of them and the rest leave for good. After we kill an elephant the people butcher the elephant and it feeds a number of villages. These people have literally nothing and when an elephant is killed it's a big event for them, they are going to be able to eat some protein. This is no different than you or I eating beef. If at all possible we avoid elephant cows and only kill mature bulls. By just killing bulls it has no effect on the elephant social structure (as it is matriarchal) as well as the herd size. The reason is another bull quickly steps up and breeds in place of the bull taken.