Spanish police released a shocking video of a man drowning a boar in an irrigation canal as they urged members of the public to help them identify the animal abuser.

It is highly unusual for the police to release a video of animal abuse. In the footage, a man dressed in green overalls is seen violently thrusting the boar underwater in an attempt to drown the animal.

Before he starts assaulting the animal, he is heard saying: "Three in the afternoon and we are going to capture a boar. Come here, son of a bitch, what sausages we're going to make."

The Guardia Civil released only part of the video as the rest is reportedly "too brutal".

The video was accompanied by the tweet: "Do you know who hit and drowned a boar that had fallen into an irrigation canal?"

Hours after the video was released, Anima Naturalis, an animal rights organisation in Spain, said in a statement that the suspect had been identified as a bullfighting fan and hunter from Tarragona, a city in northeastern Catalonia. His name has not been made public so as not to hinder the police investigation.

Aïda Gascón, director of Anima Naturalis, said: "We were used to these cases of animal abuse going unnoticed and unpunished, but those days have been left behind thanks to the rapid action of organisations and volunteers. No one who commits an act of violence like this will go unpunished."

The Royal Spanish Hunting Federation condemned the barbaric act. The federation's president, Ángel López Maraver, said: "The instigator of this despicable act must be severely punished for the cruelty shown."

The Party against the Mistreatment of Animals (PACMA) said Spain's judicial system does not treat the abuse of wild animals as a criminal act.

PACMA President Silvia Barquero said: "The Penal Code punishes anyone who mistreats a domestic animal, that lives with people, with a maximum of 18 months in prison. Wild animals are not covered."