A spooked elephant taking part in a Three Kings Day parade suddenly turned and knocked the town mayor back into several children with its tusks.
The incident was filmed during a Three Kings parade in the town of Medina del Campo in the province of Valladolid located in the north -central Spanish region of Castile and Leon, and fortunately no one was injured by the elephant.
In the footage, the elephant is seen walking along the road with a small group as spectators line either side of the designated route.
Flash photography appears to unsettle the huge animal and it suddenly turns its head, knocking the town mayor back as several children fall to the ground.
The mayor, Guzman Gomez Alonso, said on social media: “It was nothing, just a small shock but nothing important.”
However, although the official and several crowd members were unhurt, many celebrities and animal rights groups criticised the organisers for using the elephant in the parade.
TV presenter and animal rights campaigner Frank Cuesta said: “The incident almost ended in tragedy!”
Meanwhile, the conservation group ‘Scooby’ said that the incident “promoted animal abuse” and that organisers should have instead “set examples of solidarity and empathy”.
A spokesperson commented: “We wonder what children watching the parade would think if they knew these wild animals have been tamed through a process of torture since birth, just to follow orders from people referred to as their ‘owners’.”
The NGO added: “We ask that people act without causing harm or suffering. We should educate others to be more humane.”