A circus believed to be in the Hunan province of China is the subject of much scrutiny and outrage after a disturbing video surfaced.
The clip shows the endangered Amur tiger, a protected species, being abused by animal handlers for the sake of a photo op.
Visitors, including both children and adults, are seen taking turns squatting on the animal after its body and legs were aggressively tied by sticks and ropes to a metal platform. The tiger appears helpless and distressed, being held down by at least two ropes with no wiggle room.
The video appeared on the Chinese video site, iQiyi, and racked up over 90,000 views. In it, you can hear the cries of a distressed child screaming, "I'm scared! I'm scared!" as the mother places him near the animal. But his cries are ignored as the animal trainer attempts to calm him by saying, "Isn't it cool to sit on a tiger? It can keep you away from the devil and earn you promotions and wealth."
This level of cruelty, captured on film by an unknown source, certainly did not go unnoticed by animal rights groups.
Director of PETA, UK, Elisa Allen was particularly upset. She said:
This tiger was bound and strapped so tightly that he couldn't even lift his head, while a caged bear paced around and around in the background, showing the psychological damage that's commonly seen in animals used in circuses.
After further investigation, Allen was disheartened to learn that other animals in Asia are subject to similar abuse at animal circuses. PETA Asia reported that trainers are known to drag, beat, kick and whip lions and bear cubs to comply with their masters to do their bidding.
The only way to make these highly intelligent and powerful hunters pose for the camera is to keep them under constant threat of punishment, intimidate them, and restrain them.
Animal cruelty for the sake of entertainment isn't against the law in China. Trainers and zoo visitors are able to do as they please with these captive animals without consequences.
This is not the only disturbing video of its kind. What one park visitor did, enraged the Chinese public.