Animal videos are one of the most searched, viewed, and shared content online. Effortlessly cute, these videos are a sweet form of entertainment, and prove a great respite from worldly tensions.
Our love for these videos has obviously created a market on social media, witnessed in the form of online pages of dogs, cats and other animals. But some of these seemingly innocent videos have back stories that are not so innocent at all.
This video of a dog walking on its hind legs chasing its owner, with a bag-pack went viral for the seemingly ‘cute’ quality.
We all have shared these ‘adorable’ videos of animals either projecting human-like traits or doing something that doesn’t come naturally to them. But what does that entail for the animal?
More often than not, animals are coerced by owners into doing something unnatural. And if the animal doesn’t comply, they are scolded, and sometimes even beaten.
This video of negative training tactics used by a dog owner enraged the social media a year ago, as it threw light on what goes on behind the facade of cuteness.
When these videos hit million views and shares, the owners and others are encouraged to make more of such ‘viral’ content.
I believe this is the same dog in the vid. someone else said that the woman in the vid says the dog is bleeding from it’s mouth. pic.twitter.com/DJVT6xos9m— the gleam (@chloeampm) May 18, 2017
Many times, the owners claim that they did not ‘train’ their pet, but rather it ‘chose’ to act this way.
It’s a highly unlikely phenomenon, that the animal itself is walking like that. While we have no way of proving otherwise. Experts claim that a dog walking on its two legs, puts a lot of pressure on its hind legs, which results in inflammation of knee joints, according to an article by Global News.
Then there was this extremely popular video of a bear in a zoo walking on its hind legs.
A blogger later revealed that,
“With this living condition it’s not surprising that he’s malnourished, which is shown by how short his legs are and the body size is disproportionately small for his head size. He is much smaller than an adult Asiatic black bear of his age should be.”
Internet is also filled to the brim with videos of cats scared of cucumber videos, where we see a cucumber is thrown near a cat and the cat freaks out.
Cat’s reaction is supposed to be hilarious. But, how can we not realise that the poor animal is scared to its wits for our chuckles? Jill Goldman, a certified animal behaviorist, told National Geographic that the cat might assume the cucumber is a snake, a deadly predator.
“If you cause stress to an animal that’s probably not a good thing… If you do it for laughs it makes me question your humanity.”
Making animals do these ‘tricks’ for human entertainment is just another low-key version of animal circus. If you think about it, the barbaric discourse, swept away from the streets, has entered a more sophisticated version of video format. And this leaves us with no way of knowing whether the animal is willingly doing something or is coerced into doing it.
Without even realising, we all are complicit in promoting animal cruelty. And it doesn’t end there. From pet animals, this extends to wild or exotic animals.
Another problematic impact of these ‘cute’ videos of some exotic wild animals is a potential increase in demand, resulting in trafficking of such animals in inhuman, overcrowded, and hostile environment.
Videos of slow loris – a big-eyed, small primate – being tickled proliferated viral video brigade a while ago, which resulted in hike in demand of this wild animal. Now, these slow loris are venomous animals. According to Huffington Post, in order for them to be domesticated, their teeth are gruesomely removed before entering the market.
This is just one of the numerous inhuman practices animals face before being domesticated.
No one is saying to not share animal videos. But there is a clear line between an animal just being itself captured on camera, and coercing and beating an animal to act in a certain way for shares and views on social media.