The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and SPCA are investigating after a horrific video showing the botched killing of a pig was live streamed on a New Zealand Facebook page.
The video was streamed yesterday in the "Kai Maori" group, which has more than 150,000 members, and viewers quickly denounced it as being an awful example of animal cruelty.
In the footage, which 1 NEWS has decided not to publish, a number of men laugh and joke as one of them repeatedly hits a captive pig in the head using the blunt side of an axe.
The pig sustains repeated blows to head while trying to avoid the men and escape and appears to be in significant distress.
It can be heard crying and squealing in pain as it is hit, but does not lose consciousness.
Near the end of the video, one of the men tells another to "get the gun".
A spokesperson for MPI said they are aware of the video and are investigating.
"We cannot comment further while our inquiries are underway, however we can say that there are clear rules around the humane slaughter of animals and we do not in any way accept inhumane killing outside of those rules."
An SPCA spokesperson also said the video has been referred to their inspectorate, and asked anyone with more information about the location or people involved to contact them, anonymously, by calling their welfare line on 09 256 7300.
Under animal welfare codes, humane killing requires that brain activity ceases as rapidly and as painlessly as possible, and that death ensues as soon as possible.
The Code of Welfare for pigs advises that, while young pigs can likely be humanely killed with a blow to the head, adult pigs have much more dense skulls and blunt force is not recommended.
The only recommended methods are either a captive bolt pistol, a rifle, or a shotgun.
The Animal Welfare Act says it is an offence to cause unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress when slaughtering an animal, and the maximum penalty is a year in jail or a fine of up to $50,000.