In what’s being described as one of the most despicable acts of animal abuse “ever,” a video emerged of a live donkey being fed to a group of zoo tigers in China.
According to NPR reporting, men used a hapless donkey to express frustration with a zoological park by feeding it to as many as four big cats in their enclosure. The disturbing graphic video went viral on the internet and attracted a firestorm from animal lovers.
Video footage from Liveleak shows investors-turned-protesters assembled around a pick-up truck at the Yancheng Safari Park near Shanghai. On the bed of the vehicle with its tail down is a donkey. It’s apparent that the men dressed in red raincoats were preparing to offload the animal into a tiger moat.
The men are seen pushing the donkey into the tiger habitat. A pair of tigers zeroed in on the animal and begin biting and clawing at the defenseless prey.
For approximately 30 minutes, the donkey bleeds from numerous wounds and struggles for its life to no avail. The video doesn’t show the entire sequence of events in the animal’s final moments, but sources say the zoo tigers eventually made the kill. Additionally, at least two more cats joined in on the feeding frenzy.
Apparently, the men behind the tragic scene had a longstanding dispute with the zoo over a lack of profit, in part, brought on by substandard management. With very little help from the courts, shareholders erupted and took matters into their own hands.
The angry group released a statement explaining their motivations behind the macabre scene at the zoo. They admitted carrying out the act and said they acted only after a vote was taken “in favor” of feeding the donkey to the tigers.
For two years, the zoo struggled with satisfying its debts to creditors. The courts approved motion requests to freeze assets. Consequently, zoo officials didn’t realize profits from operating revenue. Investors took action after complaining about the slow pace of legal proceedings.
“Shareholders are very unhappy about this,” the statement read. “So in a rage, a live donkey and sheep will be fed to the tigers.”
The group said its actions were not only the result of frustration with a lack of profit returned to their portfolios. Ironically, they were concerned with the welfare of the animals. They pointed to several instances where animals died due to lack of funding for food and medical care. Reports suggest at least two giraffes died awaiting funding for transfer to better-equipped facilities.
Zoo officials said the donkey incident at the tiger enclosure occurred without warning. While they lost the donkey in the dispute, security personnel managed to save a goat and other animals set to meet the same fate.
Children looked on in horror as the donkey was fed to the tigers. Zoo administrators issued an apology about the disturbing incident and pledged to improve conditions going forward.
“Since the incident, our zoo has gone into emergency alert.” Officials are aware of the video circulating on various online sites. They regret that it is “causing widespread disgust” and wrote that they “would like to express our deepest apologies.”
Officials are also meeting with disgruntled shareholders to try and ease tensions. They also promised to strengthen relations and improve safety standards at the zoo.
Multiple media sources say China has a history of mistreatment of domestic and exotic animals. As the Guardian charged, while the video of a live donkey being fed to captive tigers at the Chinese zoo is appalling, the practice is not all that “unprecedented” in the country.
“Although the incident with the donkey was not sanctioned, zoos in other parts of China regularly feed live animals to tigers for the amusement of the public. Guests visiting one tiger sanctuary in north-east China’s Heilongjiang province can pay to have a live cow or chicken hurled into the tiger enclosure.”
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[Featured image by Martin Mecnarowski/Shutterstock]