Horrified visitors watch live donkey fed to tigers at Chinese zoo

A live donkey was fed to tigers at a Chinese zoo as a form of protest, horrifying onlookers who watched the graphic scene unfold for a half hour.

The video, reportedly shot Monday by a visitor at the Yancheng Safari Park near Shanghai, has gone viral and sparked concerns about how captive animals are treated in China.

A group of men in raincoats can be seen shoving a donkey down a makeshift ramp into a moat where two tigers promptly pounce and begin feeding. The donkey can be seen thrashing underwater.

The zoo issued a statement blaming disgruntled shareholders who were upset by a lack of returns over the last two years. Apparently the men planned to capture some of the animals at the facility and sell them but were stopped by security, so they opted instead to feed a live donkey and sheep to the tigers to “save on animal feed,” the Guardian reported.

Zoo officials were too late to save the donkey but stopped the protest before the sheep could be fed to the tigers.

“It’s a terribly sad video because everything in it is suffering, whether it’s the donkey, whether it’s the tigers, whether it’s the public watching them,” Doug Cress, chief executive officer at the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, told National Geographic.

Zoos in China often feed live animals to tigers to entertain the public, according to the Guardian.

The shareholders issued their own statement after outrage from the incident spread across China, expressing frustration with a slow-moving trial that froze the zoo’s assets.

They also claimed the legal struggles have led to the death of two giraffes and others animals because the zoo couldn’t provide treatment, according to NPR.

Yancheng Safari Park confirmed that in its statement.

Shareholders were set to meet with zoo officials in an attempt to work out their problems and avoid future stunts.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653