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September 3, 2014

Internet Animal Cruelty

What you can do

The Humane Society of the United States

  • The HSUS's Animal Rescue Team saved this rabbit from cruelty. Kim Alboum/The HSUS

The internet has become saturated with video-sharing websites, many of which have become venues for users to upload images of animal cruelty (such as animal fighting or "crush" videos).

Unfortunately, it is exceedingly difficult to obtain animal cruelty prosecutions in cases where alleged animal abuse is posted online, because of the difficulty in identifying the date and location of the abuse, as well as the identity of the abuser.

Most often, the best we can hope for is for the website’s ISP to remove the offensive images or video content, to hopefully prevent the proliferation of copycat videos. Some ISPs, like Google, have Terms of Service agreements that prohibit offensive material.

To report internet animal cruelty, you have several options:

  • Use our online form to report cruelty you see on the Internet directly to HSUS.
  • Contact the ISP and let it know that you think one of its websites may be in violation of its TOS agreement and should be removed. To identify a website's ISP, go to http://www.networksolutions.com, and go to www.search.org/programs/hightech/isp if you need to find the ISP’s contact information.
  • Note Facebook's policy on offensive content:
     
    • Facebook maintains a robust reporting infrastructure that leverages our hundreds of millions of users to look for offensive or potentially dangerous content. This reporting infrastructure includes links on pages across the Facebook site, systems to prioritize the most serious reports, and a team of professional reviewers who respond to reports and escalate them to law enforcement as needed. We encourage our users to report any offensive or inappropriate content by clicking on the "Report" links located on pages throughout the site.

  • Report offensive images on YouTube by clicking the "flag video" link. Read about YouTube's abuse policies here: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/request.py
  • If the offensive website involves selling, trading, or offering goods/services, contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Select "Money" when asked what the incident you are reporting involves. IC3 will evaluate your report and refer it to the appropriate federal, state, local or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies.
  • Submit a complaint to the FBI and/or the Department of Justice, noting the exact website address, its ISP and the ISP’s contact information.
  • Encourage sites you visit regularly to regulate their websites for animal cruelty. For example, many of our members have written (and continue to write) to video-sharing website Youtube, urging them to monitor for animal cruelty videos and reiterating that the only purpose of such videos is shock value and the majority of viewers find them outrageously offensive.

The HSUS is currently on the front lines fighting for a federal law that would put a stop to the proliferation of animal abuse videos. We do the best we can to flag these videos and have them removed from the public domain, and we thank you for your willingness to help us.

We appreciate your being the eyes and ears for the animals on the Internet. If you'd like to become involved with urgent animal cruelty issues, please visit our Animal Cruelty and Fighting page or join our Facebook page

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