The chief executive of a US Internet company has come under fire by animal rights activists for shooting an elephant while on holiday recently in Zimbabwe.
Activists launched a campaign to boycott GoDaddy.com, a Web domain name hosting firm, after CEO Bob Parsons posted a video of himself shooting what he described as a ”problem elephant.”
The video went viral as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals denounced the Web executive, describing him as “the scummiest CEO on earth.”
Some objected in particular to the segment of the video clip in which villagers wearing GoDaddy.com baseball hats butchered the elephant for meat.
Parsons has said that he stands by his actions, arguing that such hunts feed starving villagers. “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," Parsons wrote on his video blog. "This is no different than you or I eating beef.”
Competing US domain name providers were offering promotions encouraging potential customers to leave GoDaddy.com. Domain provider NameCheap offered to donate a dollar to Save the Elephants for every domain name switched from GoDaddy.com
PETA spokeswoman Ashley Gonzalez told VOA's Sandra Nyaira that Parsons should use his money to empower villagers and provide protected areas for elephants.
Program Coordinator Sally Wynn of the Zambezi Society said human-elephant conflicts are a real problem in Zimbabwe as the two species live in close proximity. Wynn said the Zimbabwean government authorizes hunting safaris in certain areas.