Shocking footage of a donkey being killed deliberately has appalled international welfare charity The Donkey Sanctuary.

The organisation is launching legal action after seeing a video of the donkey being crushed to death by a digger.

The footage was taken in Churu in Rajasthan, north-west India on 7 August.

It shows a local official using the excavator part of the mechanical digger to knock the donkey to the ground and repeatedly hit the animal’s head and body.

The animal was killed because locals feared it had caught rabies from a dead dog. They called the local council municipality for help, which send a man and a digger to “deal with the situation”.

“This is truly brutal and shocking and shows extreme and needless cruelty. If advice had been sought, the donkey could either have been quarantined to see if it had any symptoms or euthanised humanely,” said The Donkey Sanctuary’s Stephen Blakeway.

“In this case, the municipality’s response broke Indian Animal Welfare law [which sets out a procedure for the destruction of ill or suffering animals and states a government vet should have been called] so we have now started a process of legal action.”

He added the charity does not want to financially harm the area but hopes that by publicising the situation it may reduce the chance of a similar incident happening again.

Watch the shocking footage on youtube