This does not look good!
Michael Hackenberger, who has provided animals for several productions, including the award-winning Life Of Pi, was allegedly caught on camera whipping a young Siberian tiger.
In the undercover video obtained by PETA, Hackenberger appears to be striking the large cat with a whip repeatedly as it practices stunts and leaps from one pedestal to another.
In one clip, another trainer holds the tiger on a leash as it rolls on its back as Hackenberger — the director of Bowmanville Zoological Park — seemingly lashes the animal several times.
Another clip showed Hackenberger talking to the person recording the footage, explaining the most effective places to whip the animal — and ironically noting how PETA could destroy them with footage of the training session:
“But, here’s the problem at the end of the day. If ├óΓé¼┬ª we’d been running a videotape the whole time you were here, and you did a 45-second ├óΓé¼┬ª montage of the times I struck this animal, PETA would burn this place to the ground.”
After PETA released the clip, Hackenberger posted his own response video saying the organization was severely misrepresenting the animal’s reactions to the whip — claiming he only struck the tiger two times. He said:
“I do not strike this animal. I do not strike him. I strike the ground beside him.”
In the 30-minute response, the trainer approached Uno, the same tiger in the original clip, and starts to whip the air beside the animal.
Uno doesn’t respond to this action, which Hackenberger says would be impossible if he had actually been hit like the video made it appear.
Uno even plays with the whip at one point — an act Hackenberger says he wouldn’t do if he had been struck as much as the video portrayed.
Hmm… Are YOU buying the trainer’s defense??
Check out both videos (below) and decide for yourself!
[Image via YouTube.]