Right before their eyes!

What was meant to be an afternoon of family entertainment quickly transformed into a nightmare for circus visitors in Lviv, Ukraine. During the lion show, the audience was shocked when one of the lions attacked its trainer and pulled him to the ground.

At first the show began as usual with the impressive animals performing their tricks. But after a couple of minutes, one of the massive beasts became agitated and aggressive.

You can watch the attack in this video, but be warned: these images are not for the faint of heart...

The audience could only watch helplessly as the lion pounced on Oleksiy Pinko. In a matter of seconds the man was pinned to the ground by the huge cat whose jaws were now tearing at Oleksiy's flesh. Fortunately, the other trainers were able to get the lion off Oleksiy before any major damage was done.

Once in safety, Oleksiy was brought to the hospital where his wounds were treated. His injuries were relatively minor but will serve as another reminder of just how dangerous his job is. In 2010, Oleksiy was attacked by two lions and sustained more serious injuries to his arm and leg. But obviously that wasn't enough to scare him into finding a new career.

This incident and numerous others have sparked renewed debate about the ethics of keeping animals in captivity and using them as a form of entertainment. Many people are sympathetic to the lions — they feel that it's not fair to keep wild animals in tiny cages and there are many petitioning to ban the use of animals in circuses and other shows.

Animal rights groups such as PETA are working hard to put a stop to this type of animal captivity.

Oleksiy seems to be one lucky guy. He's survived two lion attacks without serious injury, but he has to admit that it's a job-related risk. Keeping large predators in cages and using whips to train them is bound to lead to some aggressive behavior at some point; it's really just a question of when. Maybe if this keeps happening, circus owners and others who use animals for entertainment will be forced to rethink what they are doing. And maybe, someday soon, the only way to see these kinds of shows will be to watch archived footage in a museum.