Many people went to see the donkeys being fed and filmed these gruesome scenes. The zoo had made the feedings into one of its main attractions, with advertisements for it all over the place. While there were very strong reactions to the videos on Facebook, the state radio and television showed no interest in reporting on this.
We asked the head of the zoo to put an end to the feedings. He argued that this was what happened in the wilderness. We explained that in the wild, lions kill their victims in a matter of minutes, while these zoo lions had no hunting experience, and so it took them about an hour to kill a donkey. He finally agreed to halt these feedings for the time being.
In Iran, there is no serious punishment for animal cruelty; in the worst-case scenario, perpetrators will be fined about 50 euros. While it seems that more and more people in Iranian society are becoming aware of violence against animals – and angry about it – officials aren’t making any real efforts to update the laws.