Pet abuse videos prompt outrage

Updated: 2013-08-27 08:02

By Zhang Lei (China Daily)

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A growing number of video clips depicting the abuse of pets have been circulating online for a number of years. Every time they are posted, Weibo and other social networking sites are flooded with messages denouncing the perpetrators.

The irony is that the expression of public anger may encourage the culprits or copycats to commit more sick acts, although there is no scientific evidence linking the two as direct cause and effect.

Li Hua, president of Animal Guardians, a non-governmental animal rights group, said the videos can be seen as individual cases of attention seeking, allied to the perpetrators' intention of arousing the observer's secret desire to be a voyeur. However, previous incidents suggest that organized gangs may be behind the abuse.

In 1996, footage of a woman stamping a kitten to death with her high-heel shoes caused outrage nationwide. When the woman was finally identified, it transpired that 60 people had been involved and all were members of Crushworld, a website that claimed to specialize in this type of abuse.

"Despite the absence of a specific companion animal law, when it comes to cruelty such as this, the Chinese public tends to simply condemn the act from a moral perspective, but rarely contacts the police or other authorities. Some of the perpetrators don't even feel they have violated certain laws by uploading these atrocities," said Li.