Stop Viral Animal Cruelty: Reporting online abuse

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It’s increasingly common to see pictures and videos of animal abuse circulating on the web. Thanks to a new project from International Organization for Animal Protection (OIPA) called “Stop Viral Animal Cruelty,” every time you see videos or pictures of animal abuse online, you will be able to report them by filling out an online form and demanding their removal.

OIPA, in collaboration with the specialized company “Tutela Digitale” (Digital Protection), will examine reported pictures and videos in order to attempt to remove the content from the web.

If you come across a picture or video of animal abuse circulating online, it is essential not to share such content, as its dissemination would give its creator exactly what they’re looking for: visibility. In addition, sharing increases the risk of emulation.

In addition to reporting the link to OIPA, it is important to attempt to trace back to the creators of the content, and proceed with a complaint to the legal authorities. This can be done through a written report to the local authorities of your country. In addition, report the content to the provider or manager of the website to ask for its removal. Youtube, for example, has set up an option for users to report animal abuse directly.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the content will be removed following your report to OIPA, but what we can assure is that in the 48 hours following your report, all tools available will be utilized by a team of experts specializing in removing inappropriate content from the web. The ultimate outcome of the removal attempt does not depend on OIPA or Tutela Digitale, but rather on the management policies of relevant websites, social networks, or ISPs (Internet Service Providers).

Keeping in mind what has been said above, some considerations on the utility, in specific cases, of sharing content that includes animal cruelty have to be made. Such content can help trace back to the abusers and therefore can enable an appropriate criminal prosecution or draw people’s attention to a problem (for example, videos showing abuse in farms).

In conclusion, it is necessary, as a form of prevention and respect for other animals, to create practical and fast means to report illicit content on the web, and at the same time to let the authorities intervene.

View OIPA’s viral animal cruelty reporting form here. 


Featured image: Hand on a keyboard. Image credit Christoph Scholz, CC BY-SA 3.0. All other images in this story credited to OIPA.

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