Social Media Targets Animal Cruelty

Nicole Kennedy, Staff Writer

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Through social media, students are exploring illegal poaching and animal cruelty.

Sophomore McKenna Muller 1st became aware of such injustices to animals through her Instagram feed. Muller was horrified by watch she saw, and decided to spread the word. “I posted on my [Instagram] story because that’s how I found out and I wanted more people to see it,” said Muller.

Some videos being circulated over social media are explicit, and include the murdering of baby seals with baseball bats and the hacking off of rhino horns by poachers in search of a quick profit. The graphic nature of these videos made sophomore Morgan Coolbaugh “literally drop my phone,” she said.

According to Living Earth teacher Roxanna Jackman, anti-animal cruelty movements have gained momentum intermittently throughout her life. “Animal cruelty has been going on for a long time, and I think at different points in time people have gotten very powerfully upset by it,” she said.

The ability for information to be shared over social media has allowed a great number of young people to be emotionally impacted. “It is so disgusting that people kill so many innocent animals not even for food but for a bit of money,” said sophomore Olivia Knutson. “Humanity is so cruel.”

Sophomore Justin Liang said, “All these posts about rhinos are all over Instagram and so many people were upset about the things happening to animals in the world.”

Coolbaugh hopes to inspire more teens to become involved with the most recent anti-animal cruelty movement.

Coolbaugh said, “Everyone should use their social media platforms to spread the word. It’s so common for accounts to have more than 100 followers, which is 100 more people who know [about these issues].”

However, while Jackman thinks that sharing the photos is a good start, she believes students can couple their spreading of awareness with real action. “As a student you don’t have a lot of money to put into something, but you can actually speak a lot with actions, and where you send your money as a consumer,” she said.

Jackman suggests students could take their concern a step further with becoming vegetarian or refusing to purchase leather and fur products.

Coolbaugh is convinced, however, that social media can be a powerful defense against animal cruelty. “Not everyone can just go out and save a rhino, but by posting you use your voice and protect [voiceless] animals,” said Coolbaugh.

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