Disgruntled shareholders at a zoo in China have fed a live donkey to tigers in a protest against the management.
They also planned to feed a sheep to the tigers, before security at the zoo in Changzhou, just outside Shanghai, stopped them.
The donkey’s ordeal was filmed by a member of the public and the footage has since gone viral in China.
In the video, the shareholders can be seen pushing the donkey out of the back of a truck and down a wooden ramp before it falls into a moat in the tiger enclosure. It is quickly set upon by two tigers, and struggles for about 30 minutes before dying.
Conditions in many Chinese zoos are notoriously cruel, and guests often throw food or other objects at animals. Many animals are locked in simple metal cages or placed in barren pits.
The shareholders invested in the zoo two years ago. They have received no financial returns since then after the zoo became embroiled in a lawsuit, the zoo’s management said in a statement. All of its assets were frozen by the local court, meaning they could not be sold to pay investors.
The group of shareholders believed the court and the zoo were “conspiring to cheat small investors of their investments”, the statement said.
“Since we can’t have any benefits, we thought why not feed them to the tigers, at least we can save on animal feed,” one unidentified shareholder told local media.
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.
This article was first published by The Guardian on 07 Jun 2017.