Circus-goers in Yingkou, China, were left shocked and horrified after a tiger suddenly pounced on its trainer in the middle of the show.
The incident, which was caught on camera, happened at the Liaohe Theatre, according to the Liaoshen Evening News.
In the 10-second video clip, the tiger can be seen attacking the trainer and dragging him across the cage while two other performers hit the animal repeatedly with long sticks.
The tiger finally let go of the trainer, who was rescued unscathed.
An anonymous employee later released a statement on the circus' social media account, saying the tiger was "exhausted" because it had been performing three shows a day for 10 straight days.
South China Morning Post reported an identified woman in the audience said the incident left her traumatized, however, her child was OK.
“My child was still very happy to see the animals, but I felt nervous during the show,” she said.
Following the horrific incident, the circus changed its schedule so the overworked tiger will now have to perform two shows a day.
Chinese circuses and traveling shows are notorious for forcing zoo animals to perform.
In 2016, PETA Asia released an investigation of 10 different circuses and animal training facilities in Suzhou, home to more than 300 circuses. They found animals were being abused on a "massive scale."
The PETA Asia investigator documented bear cubs that were "chained or tethered to a wall and forced to remain upright, sometimes for hours in order to train them to walk on their hind legs. If they can’t hold themselves up, they risk choking and hanging themselves." Meanwhile, tigers were made to "balance on balls, roll around on the ground and stand on their hind legs. Trainers hit, jabbed, and threatened them with long, heavy metal poles, some of which had a whip on the end."
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters