A worrying craze of fake animal rescue is plaguing YouTube. The videos depict staged scenes of rescue where animals are subjected to various forms of traumatic experience in the name of being rescued. Such rescues show animals being attacked by predators or trapped in impossible situations before they are rescued.
World Animal Protection, an international non-profit animal rights organization, has discovered more than 180 fake animal rescues that were uploaded between October 2018 and May 2021 on YouTube.
Of these 70 fake animal rescue videos were uploaded just in 2021, which indicated that there is a worrying surge in this inhuman form of entertainment and money-spinning fake ventures.
Of these, 50 of the videos most viewed had a viewership of over 133.5M views, pointing to the money that drives these phony ventures.
Media Attention And Efforts Has Led To These Fake Animal Rescues Being Taken Down
With the sustained efforts of various groups, many of the fake videos were identified and removed from the video-sharing platforms. But the majority of such fake animal rescues remain and are difficult to identify without expert help.
Most of the fake animal rescues initially identified remain on the platform.
YouTube has pledged to deal with this menace of fake animal rescue. But fresh fake videos continue to be uploaded on YouTube. 47 fresh such videos were identified between March and June 2021. These new videos have received over 7M views and 2.7M, subscribers.
A majority of the animals subjected to abuse include dogs, cats, ducks, chickens, and the predator animals, who too are victims of this systematic abuse of animals.
The films put the animals and even the people handling them at grave risk and leave lasting psychological damage on the terrified animals who are exposed to the predators. These videos are all done for the enormous profits earned from viral videos on the YouTube platform.
One of the videos shows a cat frantically trying to protect her kittens from a boa constrictor, while a second video shows a terrified gibbon desperately trying to escape from a reticulated python.
The predators are invariably shown in the videos being injured by the prey animals and also being attacked with sticks, handled roughly, and injured by animals during the fake animal rescues.
It is obvious that such videos will continue to be uploaded for maximum views. It is eerily reminiscent of the shows put up in ancient times where animals were pitted against one another for the entertainment of a paying public. The only difference in those videos was that humans were also pitted against other humans and animals.
World Animal Protection Has Urged YoTube To Be True To Their Pledge
The World Animal Protection has urged YouTube to remain committed to its pledge to ban non-education, scientific, artistic, or documentary content that depicts unnecessary suffering of animals.
Despite the pledge, videos stay for long on these platforms and amass viewership that translates to revenue for these channels. It also leads to copycat videos being uploaded.
YouTube needs to be prompt in removing the videos. Viewers also need to act on the detection of such videos and report them.
These fake animal rescue videos can be identified by carefully watching for signs of stress and injuries before the fake attacks.
The presence of predators in places they would not be easily found are also signs of fake videos. The behavior of the animals after the attack and the behavior of the rescuers are also strong indicators.
Rescuers remove the prey and predators together from the scene instead of keeping them separate.
Other forms of animal cruelty include videos being uploaded that depict trapped animals being rescued. Such cruel forms of entertainment can only be stopped through more vigilance from both the media platforms and viewers who need to flag such videos immediately and not view them as a form of entertainment.