Footage of man sending stunned possum flying off Waimate farm fence with hay-maker punch divides internet - 'What a big man'

Footage of a man punching a possum off a post has drawn the ire of an animal rights group, who labelled it as an act of "deliberate cruelty".

The clip has racked up nearly 150,000 views since being posted to the Facebook page of Newstalk ZB's radio show The Country earlier today.

The video shows a man walking up to a possum that is sitting on a fence post stunned in the glare of a vehicle's headlights on a Waimate farm.

Cocking back his arm the man then launches a haymaker at the possum, hitting it in the face and sending it spinning into the air. 

Comments on the Facebook post show divided opinion among people, with some saying the action was permissible due to the possum's pest classification.

However others were less forgiving, with one user writing: "That is not pest eradication, that is straight out cruelty. What a big man".

A spokesperson for Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) told Newshub there was no excuse for animal cruelty.

"Punching an animal in the face is appalling. It's animal cruelty - pure and simple - and there is no excuse for it," the spokesperson said.

"This brutal behaviour has nothing to do with animal management. What we are seeing in this video is someone abusing animals."

According to Newshub the incident has now been passed on to the SPCA for investigation.