WARNING: footage may upset some viewers
Anger is growing after video footage has emerged of a man striking a horse on the forehead with a stick, causing it to collapse.
The perpetrator is seen to be laughing following the incident, as the horse appears to struggle to regain its feet.
The footage is believed to be of two Saudi men, according to reports. At the time of writing, nearly 500,000 people had viewed the footage on YouTube.
The animal was tied to a power pole when the incident occurred.
The reaction in Saudi Arabia has been swift, with efforts under way to identify those responsible.
The footage has been circulated widely online, with many Saudis demanding that those responsible be brought to justice.
Emir Abdelaziz Ben Saad Ben Jouli, a horse breeder in the Al-Ahsa region in the country’s east, is among those seeking the arrest of the men.
“I’ve put my telephone number on Twitter, asking people who have any information about these individuals to come forward so that the police can arrest them,” he was reported as saying on The Observers website.
“I was appalled when I saw the video. I can’t understand how anyone can treat a horse – or any other animal – with such cruelty.
“I have already contacted a lawyer in order to launch legal proceedings against these people. All I want is for them to be sent to prison so that they understand the gravity of their actions and, above all, serve as a warning for others,” he said.
“This act is even more incomprehensible given that the horse, especially the pure-bred Arabian, is a very respected and pampered animal here.”
Arabian horses played a major role in the unification of Saudi Arabia, he said. King Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s first monarch, and his men criss-crossed the country on the back of Arabian horse as they fought to unite the country at the start of the 20th century.
Twitter users have created the hashtag #محاسبة_معذبي_الحصان (“punishment for the horse’s torturers”).
The reaction on Twitter has been fierce.
“Humans without humanity,” tweeted @RazanAlDayel.