Hollywood’s once-esteemed animal trainer, Michael Hackenberger, is under fire after video of him savagely beating a tiger was revealed to the world.
In a statement, PETA wrote that the video shows Hackenberger “savagely beating a young Siberian tiger up to 20 times on the face and body with a whip.”
In the video, he states: “I do not strike this animal. I do not strike him. I strike the ground beside him.”
In another statement, the animal rights organization stated:
“Michael Hackenberger was caught on camera repeatedly and viciously striking a young tiger who lay cowering on his back out of fear and discussing the most effective ways to hit animals, stating quite plainly, ‘I like hitting him in the face’ – yet Hackenberger lies even about having said this. Wild animals like Uno perform stressful and confusing tricks because they’re terrified that they’ll be beaten if they don’t. There is no excuse for beating an animal, any more than there is for hitting a child.”
This isn’t the first time Hackenberger has gotten into trouble for mistreating animals. In August, the trainer was faced with severe criticism when he swore at a baboon who fell off a pony during a live television stunt. He later apologized for the offensive language.