The article ‘Angry Shareholders Feed Live Donkey To Tiger In Chinese Zoo’ raises a lot of questions… Especially animal welfare issues. The problem here at this particular zoo is an economic problem, but the donkey is the victim in this particular case. However, more zoo animals are affected by the financial situation of the zoo, as is claimed in the article. That the tigers mauled the donkey before they killed the donkey is not a surprise, that is the kind of behaviour that can be expected from a tiger. But the human-nonhuman interaction is of most interest in this case. Did they have any welfare concerns in this case? And, can we find any welfare concerns in other zoos in China where they regularly feed live animals for tigers? Or is it only amusement for the public to feed live animals? Many questions, many answers still needed…
The question that triggers me most is: can we find alternatives for feeding tigers – in zoos! – in a way that resembles feeding live animal, but takes into account animal welfare issues?
Stichting Leeuw experimented with this issue and has developed a hunting simulator as a way to stimulate the hunting behaviour of large carnivores. And the side- effect is that it is also interesting to watch for the public in this video.
What do you think about all this?