The RSPCA has launched an investigation into possible animal cruelty.
The RSPCA has launched an investigation into possible animal cruelty. Contributed

Animal cruelty furore

A PHOTO of a school student with his hand around the neck of an ibis is at the centre of an animal welfare investigation in Hervey Bay.

RSPCA regional inspector Amanda Yates said she launched the investigation after a complaint by a member of the public.

It is unclear in the picture, which was posted to Facebook and later taken down, whether the bird is dead or alive.

As both boys in the photo are wearing a school uniform, Ms Yates said she expected that the school would be called upon to assist with her inquiries.

A disturbing sidebar to the appearance of the photo on Facebook was the number of people who commented on it.

There were more than 100 people who offered up their thoughts and more than 20 people who indicated they liked what they saw.