A new investigation by World Animal Protection exposes the shocking scale of a cruel and worrying new craze on YouTube – the rise of videos depicting fake animal rescues involving wildlife.
In these videos, an animal, such as a monkey, dog or reptile, is filmed to be the prey and is set upon by a large predator, such as a snake or crocodile. The videos show scenes such as a panicked monkey being trapped in the grip of a reticulated python, as they desperately try to break free. In these clips you can hear the terrified cries of the animals as they fear for their lives. Although the prey animals are eventually rescued, they face visible distress and trauma, and shouldn’t have been in such a terrifying situation in the first place. This cruelty is set-up and inflicted for entertainment.
This follows on from a recent investigation by Lady Freethinker that identified 17 such videos, across six different channels, collectively accumulating over 40 million views, with almost three million subscribers.
In their report Views that abuse, researchers from World Animal Protection have uncovered:
Over 180 videos showing fake animal rescues – all published between October 2018 and May 2021.
Seventy of which were uploaded in 2021 alone, signifying a worrying upsurge in this cruel type of entertainment.
The 50 most viewed fake animal rescue videos were uploaded from 28 different channels, resulting in a total of 13 million subscribers, over 133 million views and half a million “likes”.
The videos most frequently feature chickens, dogs, and monitor lizards as the “prey” with dogs and Burmese pythons as the most common “prey-predator” combination.
One single video showing a fake rescue of a monitor lizard from a python attack had been viewed over 100 million times.