Video: Man faces animal cruelty charges after riding emu

An Australian farmer who filmed himself riding an emu could now be facing animal cruelty charges.

The man posted the footage to YouTube and Facebook, and wrote: "What most overseas people get confused about Australia is they think we ride kangaroos to work, but in actual fact we ride emus."

The man, identified on his Facebook page as Jack Mcmillan, from Queensland, then proceeds to ride "Betsy" the emu shouting, "righto girl let's go, off to work we go!"

The RSPCA believe the emu is a chick and would have been very distressed by the incident.

But Mr Mcmillan defended his actions, saying he actually rescued it.

"So it turns out someone thought my video of the emu was that good they thought they should let the coppas no (sic)," he said on the Facebook page.

"Just to clear up if it wasn't for me that emu would of being (sic) dead right now as it was tangled up in a barb wire fence and I cut it out and made a video."

The RSPCA was also concerned by other animal pictures on his Facebook page. According to the Courier Mail, RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty told AAP: "In one video he was using a calf on top of his leg to do leg stretching exercises.

"In another he used a dead pig like a weight."

Mr Beatty told that, while there have been far worse acts of animal cruelty, the emu riding video wasn't a good image for Australia.

He added: "It definitely sends out a bad message internationally."

Biosecurity Queensland said it received the footage from the RSPCA and is assessing the appropriate action to take under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the maximum penalty for animal cruelty in Queensland is $220,000 (£121,218) or two years in prison.

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