Saturday, July 24, 2021

Animal abuse needs serious attention

There’s a limitless supply of crap that consumes our Facebook newsfeeds: irrelevant memes, sponsored ads, news articles and, most importantly, shared videos. These seem to get the most attention by users, and that is no exception this past week.

Two young boys placed a kitten in a bucket and doused it with lighter fluid. As the Spanish-speaking children giggled, they struck a match and threw it into the bucket. The kitten naturally tried to jump out of the bucket and roll around to extinguish itself, but it didn’t have a choice — the flames were too strong.

And even when the flames died down the eventually, the children weren’t going to let that end their fun. So what did they do? They poured more lighter fluid on the fiery feline.

The incident was filmed and later posted to Facebook where it went viral a little over a week ago. “How could Facebook allow this video to be posted?” many voiced in disgust. The answer to this question is that Facebook’s terms of violation became more lenient following an issue involving a woman not being allowed to post pictures of her breastfeeding her child.

This video, however, has absolutely nothing to do with breasts. Many have tried to report the video, but Facebook notifies its user that they reviewed the video and have found it doesn’t violate their Community Standards.

A Facebook spokesperson said, “While we do not allow content that directly encourages violence, we try to create a safe environment that balances people’s desire to express themselves and in some cases condemn what they see.”

There’s no better way to express yourself than a good ol’ fashioned cat burning, eh? Though one could make the argument that sharing this video spreads awareness of animal abuse, it is not sufficient enough, considering these juveniles have not been arrested or even identified.

It doesn’t matter that the individuals responsible for this atrocity are kids. The one shown with the bottle of lighter fluid in his hand looks like he could be about 10 or 12, but that doesn’t matter. One is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong at that age.

In 2007, it was reported that 337 defenseless cats had been abused by mindless humans. The fact that people get off on animal abuse is appalling.

We treat cases like they’re misdemeanors, mere slaps on the wrist. Remember when Michael Vick found himself at the center of a huge dog-fighting scandal? Vick remains employed in the NFL, enjoying a $5 million per year salary.

Since then, we have come a long way with treating animal abuse cases more seriously. In March, South Dakota became the final state to enact a felony provision for animal abuse. It’s a serious offense and should be treated as if it was a child — here’s looking at you, Adrian Peterson.

The fact remains, though, that animal abuse still happens and isn’t noticed until a person comes clean with what they’ve done or a video goes viral on the Internet.

But even though one of the cat burners’ faces was caught in the film, and even though there are petitions and cash rewards surfacing on Facebook for his arrest, this young boy has yet to pay for his actions. And that, everybody, is a problem.

Email Chris Burek at

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