Indonesia has found itself on the top of a very disturbing list after it was ranked first as a source for online animal cruelty content in a new research published this week, with thousands of videos traced back to the Southeast Asian country.
The 2021 SMACC (Social Media Animal Cruelty Coalition) Report, published by an animal welfare coalition known as Asia for Animals (AfA), found that at least 1,626 videos depicting animal cruelty from nearly 5,500 obtained globally were believed to have been made in Indonesia. From the same total, researchers say that 1,569 were uploaded from the archipelago nation.
According to AfA’s data, the majority of the videos showed animal cruelty in a manner that is obvious and intentional, with identified themes such as fake rescue, eating live animals, wild animals as pets, as well as animals as entertainers. The specific abuses also ranged from inappropriate handling or environment, to rough handling and social isolation.
The study focused on YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok, collecting data via snowball sampling and only with content available in the public domain. Researchers also said that sometimes locations may be incorrectly stated by users.
“It should be noted that while our findings indicate a major problem, they do not show the immense scale of the problem,” researchers wrote.
“Our data solidly confirm that online animal cruelty content is a large-scale, global problem.”
It is sad to admit that we’re certainly no strangers to animal cruelty videos going viral here in Indonesia, from a YouTuber who makes monkeys consume energy drink and eat chili in a series of abuse videos, to dangdut singer Lucinta Luna swimming with a dolphin in Bali.
The coalition also revealed that the 5,480 videos they documented for this study had been viewed more than 5.3 billion times collectively, further highlighting how the platforms hosting animal abuse content have been profiting off of clicks. As such, the coalition is urging social media platforms to adopt standardized definitions of animal cruelty while also expressly prohibiting them, among other demands. You can read the research in full here.
“These platforms have a social and ethical responsibility to do better,” the study concluded.