Cruel and Unusual

I couldn’t believe this when a reader first reported it — in July 2010 a Russian tourism company forced a donkey to parasail over the Sea of Azov as part of a publicity stunt.

“This is a little town and we all know that donkey well,” a local woman told reporters. “He worked for several years on the beach, being photographed with tourists. As soon as his ordeal was over, a lot of the people on the beach ran forward to soothe him.”

After worldwide outrage at the stunt, the donkey spent its last months in a sanctuary near Moscow, eating fruit and vegetables, spending time in a solarium, and getting massages. It died in December.

Animal-rights activists tried to prosecute the owners, but no charges were ever filed.

(Thanks, AnneLaure.)