"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" has come under fire after a video taken by an onlooker was posted on YouTube this week, showing a camel – apparently brought in for a skit on the Comedy Central show – suffering alleged abuse from his handlers while shooting in the snow and sleet-filled streets of Madison, Wisconsin.
The video shows the camel being jabbed in the neck and marched around a small fence, before becoming stuck between the metal bars.
The frightened animal is then aggressively yanked forward until it slips and falls in the ice while the fence falls down. Despite the animal cowering down, handlers still try to forcefully pull up the camel.
At one point, "Daily Show" correspondent John Oliver walks in front of the camera and instructs the shooter to turn it off.
The incident is no laughing matter for animals rights activists PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) who sent a letter of concern to the show on Tuesday.
“We have received several complaints—some from people present at the time—about the camel falling on the ice. Viewers are upset that an animal being used for the show was mishandled and appeared to be distressed, and we've confirmed that from a YouTube video of the incident sent to us,” PETA Animal Behavior Specialist Julia Gallucci, M.S. wrote. “Camels fare very poorly when used for entertainment."
"The Daily Show" did not respond to their letter.
The show's fans have also taken to the web to express their disgust over the incident.
“If this poor camel suffers permanent damage because you punks are reaching so far to find humor at the expense of workers fighting for their rights, then you need your show canceled immediately,” one viewer wrote on the Daily Show’s blog in a thread titled “Camel Abused in Daily Show Stunt,” while another outraged person wrote: “The abuse is that a camel is being forced to be in cold conditions and in a crowd situation. The ‘guy trying to direct a camel around’ got the camel's legs stuck in a metal barrier and cause it to fall and possibly injure itself. Not funny in the least.”
According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the “Daily Show” didn’t use any footage of the camel in its Tuesday night broadcast.
Reps for Comedy Central and "The Daily Show" did not respond for comment.