28th March 2023

IMPORTANT UPDATE - JUNE 2023 - The government have recently decided that they will not be including animal cruelty as a priority offence within the Online Safety Bill at this stage. This is incredibly concerning and disappointing. 

We are continuing to ask for you, our loyal supporters, to keep emailing Government Ministers and MPs to call for animals to be included in the Online Safety Bill. As long as the Bill is in progress the Government can submit their own amendment to it at any stage, so keeping up the pressure on this important issue is vital. We must ensure animal cruelty and wildlife trafficking is catagorised as a 'harm' and brought explicitly within the scope of the Bill. Thank you. 

A group of animal protection experts have warned that content on social media depicting animal abuse harms vulnerable adults and children, as well as animals, and should not be overlooked in government development of the new UK Online Safety bill. 

The bill, which aims to protect children and vulnerable people from “illegal” or “harmful” content, will place more responsibility on social media companies to moderate and restrict such content on their platforms. 

Currently, the proposed bill does not cover content depicting abuse to animals. Animal experts have warned this would be a major failing by the government, arguing such content often shows illegal acts, while also having a damaging impact on the young people who watch it. 

Videos documented by animal experts show a wide range of animal abuses, with the worst depicting severe physical abuse and even torture. 

Many social media companies do have policies prohibiting content depicting animal abuse on their platform. However, data collected by the Asia for Animals Social Media Animal Cruelty Coalition (SMACC) since March 2021, indicate that less than 50% of links showing animal cruelty are removed by platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok after being reported by users. 

To help ensure animals are better protected moving forward, Freedom for Animals has joined forces with Asia for Animals (AfA), Social Media Animal Cruelty Coalition (SMACC), Wildlife and Countryside Link and other animal protection charities to write to the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan MP, urging her to make amendments to the bill as it goes through the final stages of development.

We are now calling for our supporters to do the same!

Please head to our action page to send a letter to Michelle Donelan MP, asking that she reconsider the suggested amendments, and include animals within the bill: