News Index > Sortable News 10/06 - now > AR News May 2011
YouTube Censors Animal Abuse Documentation
May 5, 2011
ANIMAL WELFARE ' Of the hundreds of millions of videos on YouTube, apparently the Mercy For Animals video documenting acts of abuse to dairy calves was too much and was removed by YouTube. We understand that people don't want to be mugged by disturbing video and, indeed, try to avoid that here on GlobalAnimal.org. But this video has a warning in front of it ' it doesn't come out of the blue. What it does do is show heart-wrenching cruelty against innocent baby calves who are unfortunate enough to be born in the hell-hole of the E6 Cattle Company in Texas .
Apparently it's okay for YouTube to host a video of GoDaddy's CEO, a fellow internet heavyweight, butchering an elephant to pieces and set to music, but it's not alright to reveal criminal abuse in slaughterhouses. This selective censorship is especially disturbing given Iowa's 'Whistleblower Bill' as well as Minnesota and Florida trying to criminalize undercover investigations that expose cruel practices against animals on factory farms.
As painful as this footage is, it's in service of changing barbaric practices. YouTube is the most effective and popular way to spread visual information. There's arguably a civic duty to allow these videos, which depict crimes, but are not themselves criminal, to be seen so people can make up their own minds. To quote Paul McCartney, 'If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we'd all be vegetarians.' YouTube is our modern-day window into a reality that industry doesn't want us to see. And YouTube provided their blackout shades. ' Global Animal
Cheryl Hanna, Examiner.com
You Tube has removed the Mercy For Animals video documenting the E6 Cattle Company in Texas acts of cruelty and abuse to dairy calves. You Tube is a video sharing website users can upload and share videos. Originally created by three employees of PayPal in February, 2005, the company was then purchased by Google in November, 2006.
YouTube characterized the video as a 'gross-out' and sent the following notice to Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy For Animals;
'It's not okay to post gross-out videos of accidents, dead bodies or similar things intended to be shocking, sensational, or disrespectful. If a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional educational or documentary context and information.'
The impact of the video, which contained an opinion from Dr. Temple Grandin, a world renowned and respected animal welfare expert and advisor to the USDA, outraged consumers so much that the price of cattle futures fell. The actions of the workers at E6 Cattle Company brought out statements from the American Veterinary Medical Association condemning the cruel practice of the facility.
In an open letter to You Tube CEO Salar Kamangar, Runkle contends that consumers have a right to know what goes on at the farms where food comes from, even though it is shocking and extremely difficult to watch.
The video, heart-wrenchingly cruel, showed actual footage of workers bludgeoning baby calves numerous times with pickaxes and hammers. Beaten calves, still alive are thrown onto dead piles, while more workers hit the defenseless animals in the head and stand on their necks and bodies.
More footage of calves enduring great pain and suffering with no anesthetic while their horns are burned out of their skulls is included. Other photos of gruesome injuries and confined calves in tiny cages living in manure and urine could break the hearts of even the most stoic, however reality can be much more disturbing than fiction. The video was meant to inform, educate, and as Runkle contends ' films like this have brought about many criminal prosecutions.
Since 2002, Mercy For Animals most famous investigations have included Buckeye Veal, Conklin Dairy, and House of Raeford; all leading to public education, criminal charges, and consumer awareness.
Runkle, in his letter to Kamangar asked why You Tube continues to 'glamorize hunters killing animals for 'sport,' and asks if it acceptable to hurt animals for fun or profit, but abuse is not allowed to speak? He finds it especially disturbing in the middle of Minnesota , Iowa , and Florida trying to criminalize undercover investigations to expose cruel practices just like this investigation, that the You Tube video was removed.
The video can still be viewed via Vimeo by clicking here. Please be warned the video is explicit and very disturbing.