Two YouTube channels promoting animal cruelty have been removed by YouTube, following the release of the SMACC ‘Teasing as Torture’ Spotlight report. The report, released by the AfA 'Social Media Animal Cruelty Coalition’ (SMACC), documented the many cruel ways in which animals are "teased" by humans to provide videos for the public to view on social media.
SMACC member, World Animal Protection, secured widespread press coverage of the report in Denmark, including on national television. This attracted the attention of the Danish Head of Communication for Google (YouTube’s parent company), Jesper Vangkilde.
As a result, two YouTube channels which showed animal cruelty were removed by the company, confirming the content breached their policies. This is a positive outcome in the campaign to protect animals from abuse for online content.
Cruelty channels such as these show many forms of teasing, some including physical abuse and all causing psychological distress to the animals. In many videos animals are intentionally scared by their human captors who wear scary masks or use props. Others show animals, hungry and crying, taunted with food. Some animals are even physically restricted and placed in tight clothing resembling straitjackets, making it impossible for them to use their arms. In all videos, animals are suffering.
Frustratingly hundreds of videos like these still remain live on YouTube, despite this recent positive outcome. SMACC has reported every video found to the company, but so far, very few have been taken down.
SMACC has reached out to Jesper Vangkilde and his YouTube colleagues to do more to tackle this issue, inviting them to work with the Coalition. SMACC aims to see social media platforms like YouTube taking decisive action to develop and enforce its policies to make sure animals are protected.