Elephants: They May Weigh More Than Chickens But Not as a Matter of Morality

Dear Colleagues:

This site is hosted by Godaddy.com. Some animal advocates have written to me and have urged me to stop using Godaddy.com because CEO Bob Parsons killed an elephant in Africa.

Now I certainly do not approve of shooting elephants; what Parsons did was terrible.

And I am looking to switch our web hosting provider.

But, frankly, it really has nothing to do with the fact that Parsons shot an elephant.

I have not been happy with Godaddy.com as a provider. The site goes down periodically and there’s often not any explanation and there are certain services that we just cannot get through Godaddy.com. So we’re looking.

But I fail to understand why anyone thinks that Bob Parsons killing an elephant is itself a reason to switch from Godaddy.com. I am quite sure that the CEOs of all or most of the other web hosting services eat animal flesh and consume animal products. How is what Parsons did any different from what these other people do when they go to the store and buy meat or milk or whatever?

That’s a rhetorical question. There is no difference. It’s just that some of us think that certain animals, such as elephants, or whales, or seal cubs, are ‘special’ and matter more morally than others. I don’t agree. There is no morally relevant difference between an elephant and a cow or a pig or a chicken or any other sentient nonhuman we exploit.

The reaction to Parsons is similar to the reaction to Michael Vick and it is similarly nonsensical. Parsons and Vick exploited ‘special’ animals–animals that we fetishize. But that’s about us; it has nothing to do with the moral value of the animals involved.

If anyone knows of a good vegan web hosting outfit out there, please do let us know. Otherwise, don’t buy into the nonsense that some animals matter more than others.

An elephant may weigh more than a chicken but not as a matter of morality.

If you are not vegan, go vegan. It’s easy; it’s better for your health and for the planet. But, most important, it’s the morally right thing to do.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2011 Gary L. Francione