Torture by Electrocution & Other Means: A Documentation of Disturbing Animal Cruelty on Social Media
The prevalence of animal cruelty clips on social media has created concerns for animal rights advocates, conservationists and everyone concerned about other species who share the environment with us. These alarming clips are gathering traction and the disturbing trend has given some animal haters a strange swashbuckling mindset to torture animals, and then proceed to post these clips on social media for purely laughs. And there are evidences to point to in this direction. I have being secretly investigating and tracking some of these clips and the accounts propagating them with reckless abandon.
Did Kurt Zouma Inspire Animal Torture?
For reasons best known to him and those at the scene, a famous football player did the unthinkable. On 7th February, Kurt Zouma, a player at West Ham United in the English football premiership was filmed tormenting his cat. As expected, the backlash was huge. The French soccer player became the subject of investigation by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the society rightly decided to invoke the Animal Welfare Act (2006) against Zouma. One would have thought that the bad publicity and media uproar would serve as a deterrent to others contemplating animal torture or distribution of cruelty videos. But it now appears some of us were wrong. As if taking a cue from the ignominy of the French man, I have since seen other clips of torture and animal ridicule streaming freely across social media platforms, even when some of the propagators of torture were warned against it.
Let Sleeping Cats Lie
As kids, we grew up listening to the popular saying, “let sleeping dogs lie.” But Zouma’s case and the meme below has awakened us to the need to propagate a new dictum about the need to let cats sleep in peace. And as the meme below has aptly indicated, some people are not “informed.” By the way, cats can sleep for several hours. According to Emily Parker at www.modcat.com, “cats sleep an average of 15 hours per day. However, they can sleep as much as 20hours within a 24-hour period.” One must ask those who torment them one simple question: why do you torture cats and then post your insane cruelty for the world to see. This must rank as a strange kind of ailment, surely.
I captured the above meme on March 17th on Twitter. While intending humor, these sorts of posts clearly encourage torture and must be discouraged. It possesses the danger of leading kids and underdeveloped minds astray, where whipping animals may be regarded as a thing for entertainment.
Torture by Electrocution
Electrocution by electric chair is one of the worst forms of torture and death reserved for some of the most heartless criminals in some societies. First used in 1890, this heart wrenching concept is the brainchild of Alfred Porter Southwick, an American dentist. He invented this death by electric method in 1881 and I haven’t come across a report that said he was inspired by animals to do this. But on March 12, 12:27 PM, I logged onto Twitter and tracked a 23-second video clip of a rat being horribly electrocuted through a wall socket. It was titled, “Every day for the thief.” The torturers spoke a dialect which may indicate the country where that video was originally shot. The video had generated close to 13,000 views and a thread. A particular account warned the video distributor of the dangers of his act. But the headstrong account owner simply retorted in Pidgin English: “Wetin go happen?” His nonchalant attitude translates to, “what’s going to happen?” And it seems nothing has actually happened despite the fact he was warned at 9:19 PM on 10 March 2022: “They’ll ban your account.”
Another account simply countered that the cruelty was a genetic inheritance of Nigerians. While this is clearly not the case @johnPauleloTa had gone on to write: “Na naija(Nigeria) twitter be this them know say we get wicked people naturally.”
The above statement seems to suggest that Twitter has acknowledged this purported cruel behavior in Nigerians and appears not to be bothered. But is this true? Below are the screen grabs from the electrocution thread.
“Wickedness on a Scale”
On March 10, 1:59 PM, I came across another video posted by@BigtymerbitzTM where he had taken it upon himself to run a survey on animal cruelty. A goat was being tortured in the referenced clip. In his own words, “Plz rate this wickedness on a scale of 1 to 10.” Below is a screenshot from the torture video, where a child is choking a goat by the neck, while a turbaned adult male in the background superintends.
“Can this Python swallow?”
Also on March 10, I came across another video on Twitter where a giant python was dragging a Friesian Calf away from its barn. There were three other frightened calves in the shadows. The background in the 45-second clip looked like an intensive cattle farm. The video producers even added a soundtrack to the cruel video where the snake had locked its prey in a seemingly anaconda grip, to the recording pleasure of the person behind the camera. No attempt was made to rescue the calf from the snake’s fangs and poison, rather someone had asked: “Can this Python swallow?” Sure it can, you enablers of cruelty! Here is a screen grab.
“Kaji Banza”/Look at the Bastard.
It would now appear March is the animal torture month! On 19th March, I was able to view another WhatsApp video which was captioned, “Kaji banza” in bright blue letters. In this torture video, a local white goat with brown splotches on its head had its fore limbs seized and held up by a young man in a dark green seemingly Islamic skull cap. This is a revered prayer item but I had no idea of what was coming.
He began to slap the goat angrily, speaking in the Hausa language, which is popular in the north of Nigeria. He then added a smattering of English language. For over 17 horrible seconds, the hapless animal endured torture as it bleated for help. But there was no immediate help in sight as unseen faces in the background were simply in stitches, while the young torturer slapped recklessly and said, “Am I your mate? Don’t make me vex. Shut up.” He tried to hush the agonized animal by placing a finger on his own lips. But he had spoken a language the goat never understood. It cried some more.
Torture by Hanging
On 18th December, 2021, I came across a 19-second clip on WhatsApp. In the torture video, two brown dogs were each hung upside down. The torture master was a young man in jeans who whipped the dogs for killing a black chicken as alleged in the video. An emoji was superimposed onto the screen with the caption, “The dogs don kill the only chicken baba reserve for Christmas.” The preponderance of these torture videos on the web seems to suggest that there are no regulations in place to protect animals in Nigeria. But that is not the case.
Animal Protection Laws
There is the Lagos State Dogs Law which is enacted to protect dogs in the state, but it remains to be seen just how effective the enforcement of this law has been. The constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria is clear on the treatment of animals. “any person who cruelly beats, kicks, ill-treats, over-rides, over-drives, over-loads, tortures, infuriates, or terrifies any animal, or causes or procures, or, being the owner, permits any animal to be so used is guilty of an offence of cruelty to animals,” the 1999 constitution, in part VII, chapter 50 states. And what is the implication for violating this law? Cruelty to animals attracts 6 months imprisonment or a fine of N50 or both.
According to www.wise.com, 50 Nigerian Naira translates to $0.13 in United States dollars. This is a paltry sum and it seems like a slap on the wrist for most people. And this may explain why animal cruelty is treated with levity on social media.
But unless animal laws are vigorously enforced in this country and social media companies act fast to stem the prevalence of animal cruelty videos on their influential platforms, we may just continue to see the trend as “online meme,” as someone helplessly retorted when I asked about the source of some these terrifying videos.