WARNING - DISTURBING CONTENT: Animal rights organisations have slammed Facebook's parent company Meta for refusing to remove dozens of shocking videos of animal abuse, many of which depict extremely disturbing acts of cruelty towards live baby monkeys.
The content, posted to a number of Facebook profiles, that appear to be run by the same person, shows mainly baby monkeys — but also other animals, including cats, dogs and rabbits — forced into sickening, inhumane and life-threatening scenarios.
In some of the videos, animals are seen stuffed into jars, plastic bottles, tied up with rope, suffocated in plastic bags, drowned, entangled in wire fencing, and in one particularly grotesque clip, a baby monkey is seen attacked by a pack of dogs as it lies defenceless on the ground while a person records and laughs.
These shocking examples are just some of the acts that appear on the profiles. Yahoo News Australia has chosen not to reveal all of them. Much of the content dates back months, and in some cases, years.
Readers of Yahoo, who have contacted us outraged by the footage, say they have repeatedly reported the content to Facebook, but have been told each time it was "not against community standards".
Videos 'depict unmistakable animal cruelty'
World Animal Protection, a global organisation that specialises in animal welfare, described the footage as "extremely hard to watch" and called on Meta to immediately remove them from their platforms.
The authority's Country Director, Ben Pearson, said everyone has a role to play in getting them pulled.
“Let's be clear – these videos depict unmistakable animal cruelty," Mr Pearson told Yahoo News Australia.
"You don’t need to be an animal welfare expert to see that. Facebook users themselves have sounded the alarm. By turning a blind eye, Facebook is perpetuating cruelty and exploitation on their platform, while normalising this shocking treatment of wild sentient animals.
“Most of this disturbing content features infant macaques, who are often removed from their parents at a very young age, sometimes just days old, in order to be sold into the pet trade. Such maternal deprivation, along with other forms of abuse can cause severe and long-lasting physical and psychological damage."
Mr Pearson said Facebook’s position that these videos "don’t depict cruelty" reflects an outdated view of animal welfare that "fails to recognise treating sentient creatures in this way is inherently cruel".
"Community understanding of animal welfare has evolved and Facebook needs to keep up. Macaques are wild animals and don’t belong in diapers, shoes, and restrictive clothing. They certainly don’t belong in our living rooms," he said.
“Facebook and other social media platforms have a responsibility to do the right thing. The need to do better."
In refusing to act, they are failing both animals and users of the platforms, who expect them to have "strong guidelines in place to prevent animal cruelty".
“These videos are not cute, they’re cruelty. We urge users not to watch, engage with or share content depicting animals in these situations, and to always report it," Mr Pearson said.
Facebook declines to comment
According to Facebook's animal cruelty content guidelines, which were articulated to Yahoo when the issue was first raised last year, the platform will: "Remove content containing explicit sadistic remarks towards the suffering of animals depicted in the imagery".
Yahoo has sought clarity from Meta as to why it has failed to do so in this instance. At the time of publishing, Meta has failed to respond to Yahoo's repeated attempts at seeking comment. Though, an employee of the company's Australian division has demonstrated a willingness to investigate the issue.
The social media giant states in its community guidelines it will include a warning screen before potentially confronting videos so that people "are aware that the content about to be viewed may be disturbing". No such warnings have been included in any of the videos seen by Yahoo News Australia.
While the footage may incite outrage among animal lovers, experts say it's just the tip of the iceberg, with similar vision rampant among many social media platforms.
Animal rights organisations slam platforms that 'turn a blind eye'
Mimi Bekhechi, PETA Vice President for Australia, said the individuals behind the cruel videos should be jailed. "Any videos that depict cruelty to animals should be taken seriously, and a concerted effort should be made to find the posters and producers of the content," Ms Bekhechi told Yahoo News Australia.
"Animals rely on us to protect them – PETA urges everyone to stop watching and sharing these videos to avoid encouraging them, and report incidents of cruelty to animals whenever they are witnessed.
"Of course, some of the images in the videos posted by animal abusers who should be locked up are no different to the torture of animals in laboratories, factory farms and slaughterhouses where mutilations and other cruel practices are commonplace. As well as reporting cruelty when we see it, each of us can help spare animals from immense suffering by going vegan."
Sale of endangered animals also prevalent
In addition to the torture videos, the sale of live baby animals is also prevalent on the platform, which Meta has also been made aware of, but has again refused to comment on.
"There are endangered monkey breeds being offered for sale across Facebook, which is obviously illegal, and also non-endangered baby monkeys that are up for sale, which is still Illegal to sell and buy in 19 US States and other countries," a distressed woman told Yahoo News Australia.
"There’s many of us who continually report all these videos to Facebook — as that’s the platform where these seem to be breeding — (TikTok is much stricter) and they always come back as 'not against community standards'.
"It’s a joke. We’ve tried all the options: something else/animal abuse, threat of violence/animal abuse, graphic violence/animal abuse etc.
"The fake rescues are just hideous and upsetting as the baby monkeys look so scared, and same goes for the rough washing ones with soap in the poor baby monkey’s eyes where the sadist just films the poor monkey just sat there with soap all over its face."
The woman told Yahoo, even more disturbingly, that many of the monkeys featured in the clips "that this person abuses, are all dead" — "he posts them just to make money".
"These are where other sadists/psychopaths/sociopaths gather and express their enjoyment — it’s truly gut-churning," the woman said.
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