This article contains content that some readers may find upsetting
The Donkey Sanctuary has learned of a report in the Daily Mail exposing footage of a live donkey being fed to tigers at the Yancheng Safari Park, a zoo in eastern China.
The charity calls the act "horrendously inhumane" and condemns it as a severe act of animal cruelty.
Watching the heart-breaking video, Kevin Brown, the charity’s assistant director of programmes is dismayed, putting his head in his hands: "You [the donkey] poor helpless animal…. how terrifying to have been thrown into the water and then slowly maimed by the tigers that are clearly captive animals and don’t know how to kill.
"Apparently the reports say the donkey’s terrifying ordeal lasted almost half an hour - what an utterly pointless exercise and a horrendously inhumane act."
Alex Thiemann, veterinary surgeon at the Sanctuary’s hospital said the footage made her feel physically sick. "The welfare of the donkey has been utterly ignored," she said. "The actions of these individuals could only have had one possible outcome – the drawn-out and excruciatingly painful death of a frightened animal. And yet they seem to enjoy what they are doing. What they have done is inexcusable, and the Park authorities need to ensure it never happens again."
Social media outrage
In the appalling video posted on social media, the terrified donkey can be seen clinging on for dear life as a group of workers push the animal off a ramp and into the moat of the tiger enclosure.
According to South China Morning Post, footage of the incident has caused outrage, with one witness writing "The donkey screamed miserably when it was pushed down. What has a donkey to do with humans’ problems?”
Standing up for donkeys
Through its membership of the Asia for Animals Coalition, The Donkey Sanctuary is now writing to Yancheng Safari Park to implore an immediate ban of feeding live donkeys to predator species – a practice the charity understands is not exclusively confined to this zoo.
The Donkey Sanctuary champions donkeys and their welfare, and aims for a world where donkeys live free from suffering and their contribution to humanity is fully valued.
Open letter to China
The Donkey Sanctuary is calling on people to add their names to an open letter condemning this severe act of animal cruelty and is seeking urgent clarity on China's policy on the feeding of live animals to captive predators.