‘Cute’ animal videos can often be examples of abuse

Published 12:10 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cute animal videos are among the most popular Internet “things.” If you don’t think about it, cute animal videos seem like harmless, clean fun. But if you do take the time to think about it, it gets a lot more complicated.

Think about the situations behind the videos for just a moment. Someone on my Facebook shared a video of two young chimpanzees running forward to each other and embracing. The text on the video said, “When you haven’t seen your bestie in forever.” At first blush, it’s cute.

But if you pay attention, you’ll notice that both of them are on some kind of leash.

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What exactly is the situation behind the video? Why are these chimpanzees not in the wild? Why are they on leashes? It just doesn’t seem like a good situation to me.

There are some cases where animals can no longer be in the wild, often due to injuries. But that doesn’t mean naturally wild animals such as chimpanzees should be treated as pets. The animals should live in a place that simulates their natural habitat. 

I’ve seen another video of a “zookeeper” interacting with some female lions when a leopard starts running in his direction. As the leopard approaches from behind him, a tiger jumps on the leopard. The title of the video was “Tiger saves man from leopard attack.”

The place where this video was shot should not exist. There is no reason that a “zookeeper” should be in there with those animals. Furthermore, it’s highly questionable that all of those big cats are being kept in a single enclosure together.

It’s not natural for the animals, and it’s dangerous for both humans and animals.

You cannot realistically call yourself an animal lover if you think these videos are “just cute.” You need to stop and think about the welfare of the animals and the motives of the humans.

The next time you see a cute animal video, try to think about the circumstances surrounding how the video was shot. If anything looks suspicious, don’t share the video. Sharing “cute” videos of animals in bad situations amounts to rewarding abusive behavior.

Asking questions about the videos and pictures you see can help you avoid sharing examples of abuse, but it can also help you figure out when something isn’t as bad as it may seem.

After I saw those two videos, I also saw a photo of a lion, a tiger and a bear all hanging out together. I was outraged at first, because it looked like more animal abuse. But after doing a little research into the photo, I discovered that the three animals in the photo were found living together when the police arrested the people who had been keeping them.

These three animals were taken to a rescue facility, and they were kept together because they had already formed bonds with each other.

Ideally, you would never have those three species living together. But in this case, it made more sense to keep them together.

You can also use the Internet to inform your real-life activities when it comes to looking at animals. Before you visit a zoo, aquarium, wildlife refuge or another place that claims to be caring for animals, look it up online.

Is it approved by the American Zoo Association? It’s a good sign if it is. Does it let you interact with naturally wild animals? That should raise a red flag. Are the animals kept separate in natural-styled habitats? Or do they live in cages? What is done with any profits made by the organization?

Any legitimate location that cares for animals should be able to easily answer all of these questions.

Remember this. Before you call yourself an animal lover, make sure you understand that animals are not cute toys for humans to play with.