Popular online video-sharing platform YouTube recently announced it is implementing a ban on staged animal rescue videos. The platform has noticed a “disturbing trend” of people putting domesticated animals in dangerous situations—such as puppies and rabbits being suffocated by snakes and cats found buried alive—to film an apparent rescue. According to YouTube’s global head of trust and safety, Colin Goulding, the company will also focus on banning eating live animals in videos. 

Animal abuse flagged on YouTube

The ban follows an extensive investigation by animal welfare organization Lady Freethinker that flagged more than 2,000 videos for animal abuse, garnering 1.2 billion total views. The videos of staged animal rescues are often made so the filmmakers can gain views, subscribers, and revenue. According to media outlet Business Insider, the decision also comes after YouTube was found running big brand ads on the pages of these exploitative videos. YouTube is still working on details of the ban and hasn’t yet made clear when and how this ban will be implemented. 

“We are very glad that YouTube will no longer allow these grossly inhumane videos on its platform. This ban is long overdue, and we urge YouTube to share publicly the details of its new policy and its timing for implementation,” Nina Jackel, founder and president of Lady Freethinker, said. “If this policy is robustly implemented and enforced, this will be a true victory for animals and for the many activists and investigators who have exposed the truth about these cruel and dangerous videos.”

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