I grew up with horses, practically lived and breathed them, so I know what extremely intelligent and sensitive animals they and their equine relatives are. Imagine my horror at the flying donkey video circulating the web today. This is one of the most disturbing acts of animal cruelty produced for human entertainment I've ever seen. Maybe even worse than the circus.
Police in Southern Russia are now investigating the company that strapped a donkey into a parachute and sent him parasailing high in the sky as part of a publicity stunt.
Here's a news report showing the stunt and the poor terrified donkey, who I now want to adopt, coddle, and shower with affection for the rest of his or her life.
Last week's stunt was organized by the owner of the private beach where it was held, in the Sea of Azov in the Krasnodar region. The owners were hoping to promote parasailing and attract people to the beach -- and that they did. The animal brayed in fear as it jettisoned into the sky. "The donkey screamed and children cried," regional police spokeswoman Larisa Tuchkova told AFP news agency, as reported by the BBC.
In all my years riding, training, and caring for horses, I've heard them bellow, moan, and grunt in pain, but I've never heard them "scream." I can't imagine that sound, or what the donkey, a super-smart and docile animal, must have been feeling.
Perhaps even more shocking, none of the spectators thought to pick up their cell phones and call police. Instead they were too busy with their cameras and video cameras taking pictures of the disturbing spectacle.
It gets even worse. The donkey landed awkwardly and was dragged several yards along the water. It was pulled out of the turf half-alive and brought to the shore. Onlookers said the animal was "faint and dizzy" as it tried to get to its feet following the ordeal.
Police began to investigate after the incident was aired on national news last Tuesday, the BBC reports. The condition of the donkey, who was normally used to give rides to children on the beach, was not known this morning.
The businessmen responsible may face criminal charges for animal cruelty, a sentence that could carry up to two years in jail. But in my opinion that is not enough. I say let's send him parasailing. Upside-down. And naked.
Image via kerndav/Flickr