A disturbing video from Nepal shows a number of elephants, forced to take part in the Chitwan Elephant Festival, being hit and gouged with sharp bullhooks, sticks, and other weapons, and their ears being violently pulled.

Elephant handlers, known as mahouts, are seen beating the animals with the hooks and jabbing them into their skin during a football match the animals were forced to partake in.

Warning: Some readers may find this footage disturbing.

Close-up shots show the elephants marked with bloody wounds with chunks of their skin missing in the video shared by activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

A number of sponsors, including Renault and Carlsberg Group, have cut ties with the event after the footage drew outrage.

Such elephants are often 'broken' by being beaten when they are very young to make them compliant and able to be trained to perform tricks.