29 April 2011

YouTube bans video of calves being beaten by factory farm workers

YouTube has banned a graphic video depicting calves being beaten, burned and left to die in pain by workers at a Texas dairy farm.

According to Mercy for Animals (MFA), the Chicago-based animal welfare organization that acquired the hidden camera footage from a worker at the farm, YouTube said that the video was, “intended to be shocking, sensational,” and that, “if a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional educational or documentary context and information.”

Animal welfare groups have criticized YouTube in the past for allowing videos depicting animal cruelty to be shared on the site. Videos that show animals being tortured, thrown off of buildings or eaten by bigger animals while onlookers laugh in delight have become almost common on the site. England’s Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals has said, “We’ve seen every kind of animal abuse on YouTube, from clips of dogs fighting to one of a kitten being thrown off a fifth floor balcony for fun. It’s definitely not a joke; really it’s a sad reflection on our society.”

In an open letter to YouTube, MFA Executive Director, Nathan Runkle says that, “MFA strongly agrees that videos of cruelty to animals are shocking and disturbing, but in the context of helping to expose and eliminate animal abuse they are extremely important. Consumers have a right to know how their food is being produced, especially when the production methods are shocking or disturbing, so that they can make informed choices.”

If you have a strong stomach you can watch the video at www.mercyforanimals.org/calves.

Sara Best | @shbest
Sara was literally born into the animal welfare movement. While growing up, her father worked with various organizations on campaigns from the Canadian seal hunt to the slaughter of dogs in the Philippines to the ivory trade in Africa. Eventually, Sara became involved in animal protection projects herself. Now she is a writer living near Toronto, a mom to two little omnivores and married to one dedicated carnivore. Visit Sara's blog.

Photo credit: MFA