CHENGDU, China - Butterflies were released as part of a promotional activity in Chengdu, China, on Saturday, but the insects, drowsy from the low outdoor temperature, were trampled on by thousands of onlookers who rushed forward to capture them.
The butterflies had been flown in to the capital of Sichuan province from southern Yunnan province for the bazaar, and a staff member said the insects were drowsy from the chilly air, according to a report on Sunday by the Global Times.
When the audience opened the boxes of butterflies to set them free, the insects flew everywhere, prompting parents and children to rush onto the stage.
The butterflies rested on the heads, collars and cuffs of bystanders, and the children at the bazaar kept chasing after the insects while parents took pictures of the scene excitedly.
When someone suddenly shouted for people to avoid stepping on the butterflies on the floor, chaos ensued. In the aftermath, countless butterflies lay dead on the floor, crushed underfoot by the eager crowd.
One netizen exclaimed: "This is animal cruelty for selfish reasons!"
Get MyPaper for more stories.