Fake Animal Rescues | Are Still Rampant On YouTube, More Info!{April-2023}

Fake animal rescues
Fake animal rescues

A coalition of animal welfare organizations calls for YouTube and TikFacebook and Instagram crackdown on animal abuse content.

The Asia for Animals Social Media Animal Cruelty Coalition (SMACC) counts 25 members: Action for Primates, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, Animals Asia Foundation, Born Free UK, Born Free USA, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, Humane Society International, International Animal Rescue, Lady Freethinker, Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, PETA Asia, Taiwan SPCA, Welttierschutzgesellschaft e.V, and World Animal Protection.

SMACC conducted a study of 840 videos and posts uploaded to YouTube, TikTok and Facebook between September 2021 – September 2022.

Many videos and posts featured wild animals being kept in captivity as pets. 76% of these videos/posts were of primates. SMACC considers wild animal pet keeping abuse. However, it says that the content it reviewed contained additional abuse such as animals being beaten, drowned, burned alive, buried alive, or being placed in situations “causing or prolonging their death.”

“The three most frequent types of abuse were: deliberate psychological torture (13%), animal entertainers (12%), and deliberate physical abuse (8.7 SMACC).

According to the coalition, more than 11.8 million views were received by all 840 videos/posts.

The study concluded that there was no shortage of content during the entire process, leading to the conclusion that the “research findings” do not address the larger problem.

The coalition stated that it was impossible to determine the extent of the problem and document all animals involved due to limited resources and access to platforms’ data. It is evident that this content is popular and common on social media platforms making it an important issue to address.

It brought to light the increasing popularity of fake rescue content. This is where animals are deliberately placed in dangerous situations in order to be “rescued” for viewers. Fake rescue includes animals such as puppies, kittens and small monkeys being placed in front of burmese Pythons to be “rescued” at the last second before the snake strikes.

SMACC is concerned that content featuring wild animals as pets could encourage viewers to keep wild animals. World Animal Protection’s 2018 survey found that 15% of wild animal owners had viewed YouTube videos to inspire them to buy their pet.

SMACC demands standardised definitions

According to the coalition, YouTube, TikTok and Instagram are accused of treating “other forms of cruelty” and “illegal content, such as child abuse and hate speech, with “much more seriousness than what is currently afforded to animal cruelty content.”

It is asking these social media platforms, as well as other sites, to agree on a standard definition of animal cruelty content and ensure that it is removed.


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