Horrendous YouTube Video Showed Baby Monkey Being Tortured

A YouTube video showing a baby monkey being abused and tortured remained live on the video-sharing platform for nearly a month.

The disturbing video, posted on February 22, showed a baby macaque monkey being hand-fed from a bottle, with a caption reading "feeding the baby monkey to make sure he don't run away."

The person then proceeded to film as a huge dog began repeatedly biting the monkey. The monkey could be seen clutching to the milk bottle as it is attacked by the dog.

Later on in the video, the monkey could be heard screeching in pain as the dog continues its attack. It attempted to run away, however, the dog caught up to it. The person filming did not interfere.

The video continued for nine minutes and had over 8,500 views, and 141 likes. It had a notice at the beginning of the video stating it might be inappropriate for some users, however after clicking a button reading "I understand and wish to proceed" the video starts.

After Newsweek flagged the video on March 15, YouTube removed it for violating their violent and graphic content policy.

A YouTube spokesperson told Newsweek that the platform has established policies around animal abuse.

YouTube's violent and graphic content policy states that "violent or gory content intended to shock or disgust viewers, or content encouraging others to commit violent acts" is not allowed.

With regards to animal abuse content, it said this is defined as: "Videos that show humans maliciously causing an animal to experience suffering when not for traditional or standard purposes such as hunting or food preparation."

The spokesperson said that the platform allows content with sufficient educational, documentary, scientific or artistic context.

According to 2020 statistics, 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. This equals to approximately 720,000 hours of video uploaded to the global streaming platform every day.

If YouTube finds a creator to be violating the content guidelines, the video is removed and a notice is sent to the creator. If the guidelines are repeatedly breached three times within a 90-day period, channels are terminated.

Monkey chains
A picture shows a monkey in chains. The YouTube video shows a baby monkey being attacked by a dog. underworld111/Getty Images

An active lawsuit—filed against YouTube by animal rights non-profit organization Lady Freethinker—for failing to remove animal cruelty videos, is ongoing. A California court hearing for the case is slated for this month.

Nina Jackel, founder and president of Lady Freethinker, told Newsweek that despite the lawsuit, new animal cruelty videos continue to appear on the site, "some involving extreme violence and torture."

"Lady Freethinker has asked for meetings, requested to join the 'trusted flagger' program, and published a petition collecting more than 140,000 signatures urging YouTube to remove such content. This lawsuit is a last resort, and we hope to secure clear, practical actions that keep all animal abuse off the platform," Jackel said.

Two other videos showing animals being placed in cruel situations were flagged to YouTube by Newsweek. One video showed a cat placed in a corner, while an anaconda snake attacks it.

The video had been live on the site for a year and has had 646 views. Another staged animal fight, which had been live for four months, showed puppies placed on an eagle's nest as an eagle repeatedly attacks them. It had 175 views. YouTube has now removed these videos.

The problem of animal abuse videos on social media does not just apply to YouTube. Earlier this month, The Sun reported that similar clips depicting animal cruelty situations have been seen circulating on TikTok. The Sun mentioned one video where a person repeatedly slaps a cat on its face and body.

A TikTok spokesperson told Newsweek: "Animal abuse is horrific and there's no place for this kind of behaviour on TikTok. It's against our Community Guidelines and we do not hesitate to take action when people violate these rules—up to and including permanently banning them from the platform."

Elisa Allen, Director of animal welfare campaign group, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), told Newsweek that all social platforms should enact a "zero tolerance policy" to these videos.

"YouTube should make it clear to users that abusing animals—on or off camera—will not be tolerated ... users posting such material should be banned immediately and permanently. This is something PETA has called on the CEOs of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch to do," Allen said.

Allen said all the while these videos remain live, social media platforms are "profiting from animal abuse."

"Users often post cruelty for its shock value, counting on people to share the content, which directs more visitors to the platform and ultimately boosts advertising income. That has to stop," Allen said.

She also said the number of videos also appears to be on the rise.

"These posts are dangerous because they can normalize animal abuse, risking 'copycat' behavior by those desperate for publicity and attention, even if it's negative.

"Impressionable viewers, including younger people, need to learn that animals must be treated with kindness and respect, not slapped, grabbed, spat at, thrown, or otherwise harmed," she said.

This article has been updated after YouTube removed videos mentioned and to include a statement from TikTok and comments from a YouTube spokesperson.