Video showing a sheep being shorn with a chainsaw is being investigated by authorities.
The 10 second clip posted to Facebook on Tuesday attracted comments of outrage and disgust after it was shared widely amongst animal welfare advocates.
It shows a younger man holding down a struggling sheep, while an older shearer cuts at its wool with a small blue chainsaw.
Another person can be heard laughing in the background as the incident takes place.
RSPCA's plea to Facebook users amid animal cruelty report
RSPCA Tasmania CEO Jen Davis said she only became aware of what she described as an “appalling incident” when she was contacted by a journalist on Wednesday.
While the charity is now investigating, she said the delay will hinder their inquiries.
”This is a really important message – anybody who sees animal cruelty, whether it's in real life, or whether it's on a social media platform must take the responsibility of reporting it,” she told Yahoo News Australia.
“If people don't formally report it we're not going to know, and the longer that gap is, the more chance you've got of evidence being destroyed or going missing. And the longer someone’s getting away with something.
“Being outraged is fantastic, and we're all outraged by that sort of behaviour, but everybody has to own the responsibility of reporting it.”
RSPCA's warning for chainsaw sheep shearers
Comments attached to the video on Facebook have been calling for the men to be charged.
“Absolutely barbaric please name and shame and bring to justice and ban from keeping any animal,” wrote one person.
“Sometimes you wonder about mankind. WTF is wrong with people?” someone else said.
“This is disgusting,” another person said.
A sanctuary owner who shared the video criticised animal protection laws, adding that livestock does not receive adequate protection in Australia.
“In my lifetime I have seen so much neglect and cruelty,” they said.
“Shame on these brainless humans.”
Ms Davis from the RSPCA said she could not comment on how the investigation had progressed, but had a message for those responsible for the act.
“Anybody who is stupid enough to put something like that up on Facebook has to understand that it's a lot easier to track you down that way than it is any other way.”
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