A horse was mauled by a tiger and lion in a circus ring in northern China during a stunt that went wrong.
Cellphone footage shows the tiger and lion pouncing and gnawing on a white horse, while circus workers repeatedly use whiplash and poles to hit the predators until the horse was set free.
Bosses at Taiyang Circus had planned a stunt for the tiger and lion to ride on the back of the horse, but when rehearsing the feat the pair of animals attacked, according to the Mirror.
The circus spokesman told the newspaper, “The animals didn’t cooperate too well. The horse kicked the lion, which began biting it in return.”
In the video, the horse runs around in circles as it tries to shake off the lion, to only have the tiger pounce and cling onto its legs too. At least four circus workers were involved in the attempt to rescue the horse.
The ordeal reportedly left the horse with bites and scratches, but no major injuries.
Some viewers may find the following footage distressing
A circus representative said the rehearsal happened around a month ago, the Mirror reported. He said that the horse was “fine” and it was a “normal” occurrance during rehearsals.
According to the newspaper, the shows are set to continue as normal.
Keith Guo, PETA Asia press officer for China said, “It’s only a matter of time before captive animals lash out at their oppressor,” according to the MailOnline.
He added, “Big cats in the circus suffer mentally and physically every single day. When they are not performing, they are confined in cramped, filthy cages and whips and beatings are used to force them to perform.”
People on the Chinese social media site Weibo were not impressed.
“joyemiao” said, “Shut down the circus! This is too cruel to both wildlife and domestic animals!” while “WangxingWX” said it was lucky that the workers avoided it, the MailOnline reported.