Make Instagram Include Animal Cruelty Reporting

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Facebook and Youtube currently have an option to report a video as offensive because it depicts animal cruelty yet Instagram does not. I want to change that.

Slow lorises are adorable. Unfortunately, their "cute factor" is leading to their extinction. 

First uploaded in 2009, a video featuring a pygmy slow loris (N. pygmaeus) went viral, receiving 9,338,000 views in just three short years. Sonya, the slow loris in the video, is seen being "tickled" underneath her armpits and housed as a personal pet. What most viewers are unaware of is that slow lorises secrete venom from under their arms and will raise them over their heads in a sign of extreme distress. Sonya is a victim of the illegal pet trade. 

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the illegal pet trade is a $15 billion industry in the US alone, second only to drugs and illegally sold weapons. The animals that are victims like Sonya, are usually taken directly from the wild. Since baby animals are often the most desirable, poachers will kill their mothers in order to gain easier access to the babies. The stress of being torn from their social community and environment often causes these animals to die before they even become a pet. And those that do are often malnourished and forced to live a very poor quality of life.

And yet Instagram allows these videos to be posted with no repercussions. By posting, viewing or liking these videos, people are inadvertently supporting the display of animals that are victims of the illegal pet trade. The types of victimized animals include reptiles, birds, Moholi bushbabies, pygmy marmosets and even megafauna like lions and tigers.

Instagram, however, still lacks an opportunity to report these videos as offensive. Without an animal cruelty category in their reporting options, there is no logical way to report these videos to Instagram in order for them to be taken down. 

But you can help! Sign the petition urging Instagram to acknowledge the detriment of the illegal pet trade and to stop enabling these animals' abusers. If we can stop these videos from being posted, we can stop them from being shared, liked or from going viral. We can make a difference in the lives of the millions of animals currently victimized by the illegal pet trade. 



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