Warning: This story details animal abuse and may be distressing to some people.
Newshub has obtained shocking footage of two Christchurch high school students violently attacking a possum, prompting the SPCA to issue a reminder that all animals should be protected.
In the video, a St Bede's College student is seen holding a possum by its tail as another young man is heard saying "Die c***".
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As the possum struggles to get away, the Year 12 student repeatedly kicks the animal before lifting it up and using force to swing it into a fence.
The footage, which was initially sent around the messenger app Snapchat on August 20, was seen by a concerned viewer who contacted Newshub about the cruelty the animal suffered.
"The video was posted onto a boys' Snapchat story at around 10:30pm on Monday night. It was later taken down after people started calling out the inappropriate behaviour," they said.
"Although this video is not killing a typical household pet, it is still animal abuse and it's terrible that there is such a trend of animal abuse being posted on social media platforms - especially from teenagers."
An SPCA spokesperson told Newshub they have has viewed the video and the matter has been passed on to their Inspectorate.
"We would like to remind New Zealanders that under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, all animals are protected and recognised as sentient beings - not just the species we see as pets."
When contacted by Newshub, one of the young men hung up and the other did not answer his phone, despite multiple attempts to speak with him.
St Bede's College told Newshub that an investigation would look into the students' actions, and their families would be notified.
"The College does not agree with, or condone, any such behaviour," Deputy Rector Justin Boyle said.
"Our investigations are ongoing and once concluded, will be dealt with in the appropriate manner by the school in consultation with the families concerned.
"The College will be making no further comment."