Monday, 19 October 2009

Armenia: video shows chilling example of animal cruelty allegedly at oligarch Gagik Tsarukyan’s ‘private zoo’

Scandal of The Day

An example of animal cruelty at its most chilling exhibition

Thanks to a tweet by @GoldenTent, I came across this link to the YouTube video, which alleges that Armenian oligarch and head of ruling Bargavatch Hayastan (‘Properous Armenia’) party Gagik Tsarukyan stages this fight between his lions and a donkey. (or it was staged at his ‘private zoo’)
#Armenia oligarch & govt. political leader Gagik Tsarukyan stages fight between his lions & a donkey #animalcruelty
*The video (uploaded 9 October 2009) has now been removed from the YouTube. (minutes after tweets and re-tweets came out): “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.”

However, it’s been already uploaded into other video sharing websites, particularly Dailymotion (see below).

There are also gunshots heard in the video. It’s not immediately clear whether they were shooting the lions or the donkey, or simply shooting in the air. Also, it’s not clear whether the animals were hit by gunshots or they were aimed at scaring them, or to complete the ‘show’ for spectators after the fight was over.

This is so disgusting that at first I could not force myself watching beyond the first few seconds. Then I forced myself... I felt physically sick after watching this video.

Any country, any society which has any prospect of calling itself a “civilised” should ban these sorts of outrageous displays of animal cruelty, and perpetrators should be held responsible before the law.


Ani said...

Just to say, I only was looking for a YouTube video of his son's wedding, and found this instead.... :((

artmika said...

Global Voices Online - Armenia: Oligarch's staff allegedly implicated in animal cruelty scandal

Anonymous said...

It's time to give Tsarukyan a new nikname like Esh Gago.

artmika said... today reflects on this video scandal:

«Lions vs. Donkey, Donkey Wins». վիդեո սկանդալ ինտերնետում (Armenian)

‘Lions vs. Donkey, Donkey Wins’: a Video Scandal (English)

В Армении разразился скандал в связи с видео «Львы против осла» (Russian)

Anonymous said...

donkey genocide!

ARAM said...

Kogda nibud Tot, kogo schitayut oslom podnimetsya s kolen i togda tem kotorie schitayut sebya lvami i xozyaevami jizni pridetsya prosit proscheniya. beregites nelyudi, potomu chto ETO SLUCHITSYA OBYAZATELNO!

Anonymous said...

I am ashamed for my country - Armenia!

artmika said...

Spokesman for the Prosperous Armenia party denied today that what was shown in this video has any connection with Tsarukyan. In an interview with RFE/RL-Radio Liberty (AM), he says that Tsarukyan has “only white-coloured lions”. Also, the condition of cells and animals in the video are poor, which would have been impossible if belonged to Tsarukyan. 'This is disinformation and playing with Tsrukyan's name', says the spokesman. What was shown in that video is “disgusting”, therefore Tsarukyan could not have done anything like that.

Radio Liberty mentions that the video was first discovered and distributed by GoldenTent (see my post above, and first comment to this post).

A representative for animal rights group in Armenia says that animal cruelty is not a criminal offense in Armenia. Armenia is one of only few countries of Council of Europe which did not ratify the relevant convention (ratified by Georgia and Azerbaijan).

When approached by Radio Liberty, police spokesman says that they did not watch the video. After journalist sent the link to the video to police, they said that the case is currently being examined and for now there will be no additional comments.

Just want to add that even if the video has no connection with Mr. Tsarukyan, there cannot be many people in Armenia who have private zoo-s and lions, and it should not be difficult for police to identify the owner of the animals.

artmika said...

‘Lions vs. Donkey, Donkey Wins’ Video Scandal Debunked by Tsarukyan

Will repeat myself here - Again. There are very few people in Armenia who have private zoo-s and keep lions, so it should not be difficult for police to determine where exactly this happens.


The lions featured in the video “Lions vs. Donkey, Donkey Wins” circulated recently in online communities and social networking sites turns out don’t belong to well-known Armenian businessman Gagik Tsarukyan after all. The video showed a fight between lion cubs and a donkey; apparently, the donkey was placed in the lions’ cage for the amusement of onlookers who many assume to be members of Tsarukyan’s entourage.

Leader of the Prosperous Armenia party, MP Gagik Tsarukyan informed journalists today at a briefing held at the National Assembly that the video was simply blackmail in his name.

“So let me tell you all that people aim to blackmail [me]. I can invite all of your journalists [referring to local Armenian media] right now, I can get vehicles at my disposal [to drive journalists], to come and see Tsarukyan’s animals, that there aren’t animals like that in the world,” announced Gagik Tsarukyan, and promptly showed photos of his animals: white lions and tigers.

“These animals and the animals you have seen [in the video] bear no connection. I am a person who keeps and loves animals, and how could I allow myself things like that? But people aim to blackmail [me],” said Gagik Tsarukyan evidently sincerely.

Tsarukyan also said how he keeps his animals: apparently in the best conditions, by feeding them 10 kg of fresh veal each day.

Anonymous said...

I know it is often difficult to define what constitutes animal cruelty, but I think I've found it:

artmika said...

It does not require lawyers to determine the site which initially this video posted on (everyone knows that it was on youtube). What is more important is who shot the video in the first place and where did it happen.

Tsarukyan's Lawyers Searching for Individual Responsible in Video Scandal

Notorious businessman and Prosperous Armenia Party Leader Gagik Tsarukyan’s lawyers are searching for the individual or individuals involved in disseminating a recent video online titled “Lions vs. Donkey, Donkey Wins,” said Gagik Tsarukyan’s press secretary, Khachik Galstyan, at a press conference today.

The video showed a fight between lion cubs and a donkey; apparently, the donkey was placed in the lions’ cage for the amusement of onlookers who many assume to be members of Tsarukyan’s entourage.

According to discussions and comments on blogs and social networking sites, the lions seen in the video that quickly spread among online communities in Facebook and Twitter belonged to Tsarukyan, who is known as favouring and keeping lions. But during a recent briefing with journalists after a session of Armenia’s National Assembly, Tsarukyan said those were not his lions, emphasizing that those “blackmailing him” should be found and punished.

At today’s press conference, Tsarukyan’s press secretary characterized the case as an example of a battle of misinformation on the net and stated that they have a lead; that is, they know at which site the video was placed first. [Editor’s note: it is already known, and publicized, among online communities and local media who posted the found video and where it appeared initially.]

Khachik Galstyan stated that after they find the individual responsible for circulating the video (and consequently, tainting Tsarukyan’s good name), they are going to seek damage reimbursement via legal proceedings.

Tsarukyan’s press secretary also mentioned that the money they receive as reimbursement will go toward a fund for the protection of animals.

artmika said...

Apparently, police did not even start and have no intention to investigate this case.

Police have Not Investigated Scandalous Video

During the months of October and November, a certain video called “Lions vs. Donkey, Donkey Wins” circulated on YouTube and resulted in numerous comments and posts in blogs, and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The video showed a donkey in a cage with 2 or 3 small lion cubs who were attacking the donkey, spurred by onlookers in what appeared to be a private Armenian gathering.

Also circulating in various online environments was speculation that the animals belonged to well-known Armenian businessman and oligarch, Gagik Tsarukyan. However, when journalists asked him to comment on the video, Tsarukyan quite clearly stated that those were not his animals as his lion cubs were of a special breed (showing photos of the animals he owns as evidence).

This week, attempted to find out, once and for all, whether the police were looking into or investigating who the animals did in fact belong to.

Police spokesperson Armen Malkhasyan, in speaking with, stated that they weren’t in fact looking into this case, despite being reminded by that there were gunshots heard near the end of the video and it’s quite possible that an animal was harmed. Malkhasyan, once again, confirmed that they weren’t investigating the case, and stated that “such a thing doesn’t exist [or didn’t occur], the police have not looked into this issue.”