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animal cruelty?

sara.gladwin's picture

So the Lives of Animals got me thinking about the wealth of animal videos available to watch on the internet. I admit, I'm definitely guilty of watching hours of back to back YouTube videos of cute puppies, kittens, hedgehogs, etc. I'm starting to wonder what the fascination is with cute things that struggle. I was watching this adorable bulldog puppy struggle to get off his back, I was struck by how many people where so delighted with how cute and funny this video seems. A few commenters called the owner out on it, calling it animal abuse. As I looked at the description, I noticed that the owner of the video had included a response to the angry comments, stating, "All bulldog puppies have to deal with this problem, they have to learn to get up on there own. If the owner helps them, they won't learn and the owner can't be there to help flip them over 24/7. It is a common thing you see when around any bulldog puppies. Due to their odd body shape, yes it is difficult for them to get up. Everyone seriously needs to calm down, the owner of the video was actually doing the right thing, and people will realize this if they think about it hard enough." While I see the reason why the bulldog puppy needs to learn how to get up on his own, is it really necessary for the puppy's efforts to be posted online for everyone to laugh at? I kept wondering if he was scared and suddenly watching the puppy turned from cute to agonizing. Maybe I'm being too sentimental but there are plenty of videos out there depicting supposedly "funny" and "cute" things animals do while they actually seem kind of terrified. Another video I had been thinking about in relationship to this was this video about a deer stuck in someone's pool:

Are we somehow covering up and prolonging an animals terror or misery by allowing for it to be played over and over again on the internet as a spectical? When the dad helped placed the deer out of the pool, it immediately jumped back in. The mother who was video-taping commented that the deer liked it in the pool. However, I'm not so convinced the deer liked it in the pool- it looked more like the mother and her two children where blocking both possible directions the little deer could have gone. If I was him, I'd might think the pool would be a much better option too. It's not that I think people do not have good intentions when they video tape or see animals who are struggling, but the animals' fear doesn't seem to resonate with them or register clearly to them. By putting these kinds of representations of human/animal encounters and interactions, are they accidently perpetuating an ignorance to an animals' fear?

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