Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On Killing Elephants, and violent threats FROM Vegans

I hadn't kept up with the outrage over Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons killing an elephant.  I like elephants very much, they are large, yet gentle, live as families, and are herbivores.  They are attractive, they are clever, they are nice.  I've seen elephants before, in travelling circuses.  The most recent I saw was dubbed "Jumbo", I named her "Ms Elephant":

 There she was, surrounded by an electric fence, a further "picket fence", and a short, fat little man, her "keeper", who was yelling at me, "YA ANIMAL RIGHTS?"  As I took photos of her while wearing a t shirt with birds on it.  There goes his right arm in the photo, complete with large gold ring, naturally, looking like some kind of sleazy car dealer/pimp.  Hello Short Yelly Man!

I like elephants.  The thought of anyone hurting, or killing elephants is very sad.  I would almost go so far to say that it was one of the absolute worst single acts I could think of.  I can understand why people are bloody mad about a man smiling as he posed with the elephant he killed. 

Many people, Vegan and "Non Vegan" alike are angry about what Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons has done.  The coverage I liked best was from Cnet:

"Parsons, feeling a little bull elephantish about all this, hasn't stopped there. He has taken to his Twitter account, where he has expressed some enjoyment about his battle with PETA.

You see, PETA had given him the title of "Scummiest CEO of the Year" award. So Parsons linked to a site claiming that 95 percent of animals in PETA's care were killed.
PETA countered by tweeting: "Site is work of the deceitfully named CCF, a front group 4 Philip Morris, Outback Steakhouse & KFC:"

Meanwhile, comedian Cloris Leachman decided to weigh in on her Twitter feed, where she offered: "Takes more balls to care for and love an elephant than it is to shoot it."
She also offered a link, which went to the site of Network Solutions, a competitor for whom Leachman is a spokesperson and for whom she happens to do ads that mock--yes, truly--Go Daddy's ads.
Leachman is, though, also a PETA supporter and has been for a while."

I know I wouldnt want Grandma Ida from Malcolm in the Middle angry at me!

"Only buy humane, Temple Grandin slaughterhouse killed CAGE FREE soylent green!"
I feel I should mention that I've disliked Go Daddy for many years now, because they run ads portraying women as things.  The particular "Animal Rights Group" mentioned in the news story above wasnt complaining about these long running ads, probably because they *also* believe in using these ads.

Bruce Friedrich of PETA: "2) Sex sells and isn’t offensive to most people. That’s the super-brief reply to that question."

 RE Leachman's comment:
"Takes more balls to care for and love an elephant than it is to shoot it."

Elephants are not "it's", seeing and referring to other sentient beings as an "it", as a thing, as property is an intrinsic part of the problem!  Its much harder to hurt someone if you recognise them as a he or she, as *someone*, just like yourself.  See Silence of the Lambs

I like elephants as much as anyone else, perhaps more than most, yet I do not see a real reason why people are getting as *mad* and *angry* as they are over the death of an elephant.  I've frequently seen personal threats hurled at CEO Parsons, of people who want to surround his house and harass him:

"time to go hang out outside his house and pester him till he just can't take it anymore...damn i wish this country weren't so big that entitled ****..."

This behaviour wont bring the elephant back to life, violence is the problem, its not the solution.  Our anger cannot help anyone, our passion can, directed into creative, non violent, vegan education.  

Lets assume people really DO go ahead and hold up bits of cardboard outside his house, and toss eggs - free range mind, from "singing hens" , "Veganist approved!" - , chanting and threatening him and his family.  What will happen?  This is a guy who poses with guns, after killing elephants, do you really think Parsons is going to be scared of you?  True, the authorities *might* disagree with him using his guns on you, but This Is America In 2011, some "animal rights activist" threatening a rich man with a successful business?   That's a one way ticket on the 11pm flight to Gitmo baby!  "Looks like this "elephant" wants to "drink" from the "watering hole", doesn't *it* boys?"

I recall video of a Vegan activist going to a man's house, demanding he come out, while someone recorded the activist.  The person summoned before the judge was apparently guilty of poisoning cats.  The angry Vegan went to their household, threatening there'd be trouble.  It seems the desired man was not home, but a woman and small child sure were, and they got the tough guy act.   "If I hear he's hurting cats...we'll be at his office, we'll be back", with threats of "a thousand people" showing up.  This video was recorded by the activist involved, although later deleted once it backfired, rightfully drawing huge criticism.  Its a *terrible* idea to storm onto someone's property with your camera crew, yell at a woman and a small child about someone else apparently killing animals, and threaten to "be back" with a large mob, "remember that name".

I can understand being angry that someone has killed another animal, any other animal, its important to keep this in perspective.  Elephants are *not* magical.  They are *not* special.  They are *not* Jesus Christ resurrected in a couple tonnes worth of scaly hide, a couple giant teeth out the front.   And we should acknowledge that.

I know a family of Chickens, they are my Chicken Friends.  I've known many of them since the day they hatched, hell, before that, I was with Ms Hen each and every day as she sat on their eggs.  Here Ms Hen is with Black Chick on the day the chicks hatched:

And here Black Chick is now :

I love my Chicken Friends, I like seeing them each and every day.  Killing an elephant is terrible, killing 49 Billion Chickens each year is terrible.  Their lives are equal ethically, an elephant does not see herself as worth infinitely more to us than a chicken, chickens do not see themselves as worth infinitely more to us than an elephant!  Its an artificial distinction.

I dont protest those who kill chickens for fun, it wouldnt change anything, nobody will come back from the dead, anger cannot help them, anger cannot help us.  

I've heard back from Vegans outraged over a man killing an elephant that doing so does NOT mean they think elephants are "worth more than Chickens", and that I'm a terribly divisive little shit for politely floating such an idea. 

I strongly disagree, these groups are fully behind "boycotting" the company of a man who shot an elephant, and defends doing so, were they also protesting Go Daddy because Bob Parsons is apparently "Non Vegan"?  No.

I can understand the need for a bogeyman, the need for victories, "yaa, we won, the bogeyman is no more!  We sent threatening messages to every address related to his company!  All the people who work for Go Daddy had to deal with it!"

Promoting Veganism is its own victory, with each new Vegan, thats a footstep towards a brighter future for everyone, regardless of whether you're large and gray, made of "leathers" or small and black, covered in feathers.

Please promote Veganism, through creative, nonviolent, vegan education.  

A great resource is Professor Gary Francione's website, Abolitionist Approach, in particular, his latest post about this elephant situation.


  1. I agree with what you say. If someone eats dead animals, why do they pick and choose between elephants, chickens, dogs or any other being?

  2. Thanks for writing this Jordan, I wish more people would just concentrate on promoting veganism


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