Teenager's sick joke falls flat (Warning: graphic image)

By Russell Blackstock, Edward Rooney

The image that caused an outcry from the public.  Photo / Supplied, Facebook
The image that caused an outcry from the public. Photo / Supplied, Facebook

A teenager has been disowned by his father after posting sick images on Facebook of a blood-drenched, slaughtered horse and boasting about his role in its death.

Ethan McLean, 17, sparked outrage when he uploaded a picture of the horse lying on a concrete slab with blood pouring from its neck at his dad's pet food plant in Levin.

Its throat had been cut and a long-handled knife placed on its head, trophy-style. The image generated a flood of complaints on McLean's Facebook page on Thursday. Within hours he removed it.

"There was a caption underneath that said 'F*****g bang' and indicated he slaughtered the horse himself," Ashlee Walton from Paraparaumu told the Herald on Sunday.

"I was absolutely disgusted. Dozens of other people that saw it were too and sent him some very strong comments."

One Facebook user, Cydney Chopra-Jones, messaged McLean: "You are going to get into heaps of s*** for this dude, it's disturbing."

Horse lover Nikki Subritzky, from Canterbury, last night fumed: "He put this picture up like it was cool. It was shocking and disgusting. I can't believe someone ... would do something like this. It is sick."

The picture was taken at No Moore Hassell Pet Food facility in Levin.

Director Doug Hassell insisted his estranged son didn't kill the horse and said he wanted nothing more to do with him.

"We have a pet food slaughter facility and Ethan comes down here now and again," Hassell said.

"What we had was a horse that was shot and bled and we were doing a bleed-out.

"While it was bleeding out, he was there taking photos and now he's tried to make himself look a hotshot. "

Furious Hassell said Ethan wouldn't be welcome back.

"He's my bloody son and he's a bloody idiot," he said.

"We had a falling-out weeks ago and he'd said he wanted to get back in touch."

Hassell said Ethan lived with his mother and had visited him last week to make amends after they had argued.

"I don't know if it's an act of revenge or what it is. He can't behave himself, he's not allowed at my house," he said.

Hassell insisted his company followed strict rules.

"Nothing untoward happened here. I wouldn't let it happen," he said.

"I've been here for 12 years and I've owned it for eight years. We are audited by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Every three months we do humane slaughter. People want it done humanely and that's what they get here."

He went on: "This little prick has done what he's done and now he's history as far as I'm concerned."

He said his son had "done a runner" after hearing the Herald on Sunday was trying to contact him. Ethan and his mum refused to comment.

No one had yet lodged an official complaint.

- Herald on Sunday

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