The Fake Animal Rescue Rabbit Hole

The hidden abuse of fake animal rescue videos on YouTube


Elizabeth Nikol Sargsyan, Staff Writer

On YouTube, it is not uncommon to see that our recommendations or daily feed are filled with mentions of cute animals and the like. Channels like The Dodo, for example, post cute or interesting videos of wild animal releases, adoptions, and most importantly in this case, rescue videos. 

Reputable sources of animal rescue channels, such as Hope for Paws, post videos of genuine animal rescues and often host large charity organization events to help support animals in need. Most importantly, they are actually verified and indeed, genuine. 

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the hundreds of thousands of animal rescue channels that flood YouTube and lead into its deep rabbit hole of fake animal rescue videos. These clips have only now been revealed to be the disgusting charades that they are. 

Many people, who have now come to know of these channels, are appalled and disgusted by the malpractice of putting innocent animals in harm’s way, all for the sake of money and entertainment. These people, or rather abusers, are one of the biggest reasons why YouTube is becoming a cesspool in terms of allowing animal abuse to occur so frequently on their platform. 

To see nothing being done to stop these people from continuously making alternative accounts and garnering views, all so that they can repeatedly use the same animal as a source for false fame, is abhorrent. It is horrible how these things can be happening right under our noses, and yet no action is being taken against it, not even from the managers of the platform themselves.

Fake animal rescue channels are notorious for going under multiple aliases to preserve their fame, view counts, and monetization. A YouTuber named Nick Crowley has posted multiple videos aimed at exposing the plethora of fake animal rescues. He notes how often multiple channels have all been set up by the same person.

For example, the account owner of “The rescue journey tv” is also the same man behind 4 other abusive fake rescue videos.  This further solidifies the issue that often these people team up with multiple other groups and channels, forming a sort of animal abuse ring. Despite the fact that they break multiple YouTube guidelines, their abuses are never much explored, due to the fake narrative of it being “animal rescue videos,” which surely throws off the unsuspecting average person.

One of the ways that people like Nick Crowley and SomeOrdinaryGamer have identified that these videos are fakes is how they use the same animals in every video. Crowley is a particularly good source of info on this, as he notes how it makes no logical sense that the same dog with the spotted back or the same striped kitten with the same colors, ends up in such strange and deadly situations all the time. This all happens while they are being rescued by the same person, who most likely put the animal in harm’s way in the first place. 

One of the many ways that these abusers have been cruel to these animals is by putting them through impossible situations where they would otherwise never find themselves in without human intervention. Most of these animals, often puppies and kittens, are found stuck in glue traps. At other times, kittens are wrapped up by snakes in areas that a kitten would obviously never be able to climb. These painfully fake scenarios are becoming more and more dramatized, yet nothing is being done, as more people continue to fall for the facades that these monstrous channels use for their own gain.

Similarly, these accounts are also never reported or removed in the first place, due to the fact that YouTube has absolutely no options for reporting videos with animal cruelty. And even with the newly placed guidelines, these videos still manage to break them and reign free, thanks to YouTube’s lack of oversight. 

This has been a major issue from the start, as they continue to protect videos featuring violence against children and especially animal abuse. Instead, YouTube focuses its attention on banning people who might have dared to use a curse word in their own video. 

YouTube has been under well-deserved scrutiny for being so negligent with how they handle videos that feature so much hidden violence. We need to start educating ourselves and be more aware of the existence of these videos and what we can start doing to stop them. We must encourage more people to speak out against these channels, but also, to single out these channels and make sure that they cannot be allowed to get away with going under multiple aliases. 

Ultimately, we must first demand immediate action from YouTube and force them to start taking such cases much more seriously, and stop treating them as a one-off thing.