The video is blurry, but what it depicts is clear: A man is driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle, speeding along a dirt road. The camera seems to be propped up by the dashboard. As a herd of emus runs along the road in front of his car, he swerves, purposely mowing them down, one after another.
In the background he can be heard shouting expletives before turning the camera on himself, laughing and shouting “yes!”
Emus are one of the world’s tallest and fastest birds. They can run about 31 mph and weigh upward of 130 pounds. The birds in the video appear to look frightened when they realize that the vehicle is coming their way.
“This is great,” the man shouts as he runs over the massive birds. “I’ve got that one too, and that one.”
The footage circulated on social media this week, sparking outrage in Australia. Police there said the video was filmed some 300 miles northwest of Melbourne.
On Friday, authorities announced that they had charged a suspect in the case with animal cruelty. Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported that in addition to four animal cruelty charges, the man, 20, was also charged with speeding and using his phone behind the wheel. The video shows that as he ran over the emus, his speedometer hit around 75 mph.
The arrest comes after two other men were reportedly misidentified online as the culprits behind the attack. The Australian broadcaster reported that they had to clarify online that neither of them was the moustached man seen cheering as he killed the birds.
The South Australian RSPCA asked that those concerned about the video avoid publicly shaming suspects before charges were brought.
“The community is understandably outraged and angry about this vision — as are we,” the group’s acting chief inspector, Cheryl Doudle, said in a statement published by SBS News. “We ask that people do not ‘name and shame’ alleged suspects on social media.”
The suspect who ended up being charged will go to court in November.
A spokesman for the RSPCA told at the time that that wasn’t the only concerning animal welfare content they found on his account. “In one video, he was using a calf on top of his leg to do leg stretching exercises,” the spokesman said. “In another, he used a dead pig like a weight.”