Screengrab from the video below.
For several months, a private zoo in the northern Iranian city of Sari sought to attract more visitors by feeding live donkeys to their lions every Thursday. However, after visitors filmed these feedings and posted the videos online, the backlash caused the zoo to halt this practice a few weeks ago.
The videos continue to draw the ire of numerous Iranian Internet users, who would like to see the zoo owners punished.
WARNING: This video may shock viewers.
"These zoo lions had no hunting experience, and so it took them about an hour to kill a donkey"
Reza Javalchi is the president of the Iranian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, based in Tehran.
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.