top of page


SMACC Spotlight Report (November 2022)
Wild animal "pets" on social media: A vicious cycle of suffering

Our latest report exposes how social media posts are promoting wild animals as pets, and that animals are suffering as a result. 


Videos showing monkeys dressed in baby clothes, endangered tiger cubs walking on leads, lizards delivered in parcels to buyers are all readily available online. The animals in these posts are suffering, as they are treated like objects, manipulated for the camera and living in unnatural conditions.  Yet, these videos and images are portrayed as “cute” and funny. Worryingly, they are also promoting the keeping of these wild animals, meaning more people are likely to buy them as pets, causing more suffering. 


Many of the species are endangered in the wild, meaning their species could be under further threat as their popularity as pets increases. Many videos show animals being intentionally abused by their owners, which is being shared among people who want to watch this cruelty, or denounce it. Social media platforms are failing to remove this content despite it breaching their policies, even when reported to them. 

This is the cycle of suffering caused by the portrayal of wild animals on social media. 


Here is what we found:

  • 840 social media posts showing at least 97 different species

  • Up to 65% of the animals depicted were endangered species such as long-tailed macaques and tigers, and some even critically endangered such as orangutans.

  • Collectively, these 840 posts had been viewed 11,806,630,205 times.

  • Primates were featured in the greatest number of posts, making up 76% (of which macaque species make up 60%). Wild felids (tigers and other wild cats) featured in 8%, and reptiles and amphibians in 2.6% of posts located. 

  • Most videos (13%) showed animals being psychologically tortured, being used as human entertainers (12%) or being physically tortured (8.8%).


Please take a closer look at our report below, to find out more about this cruelty. And please always remember to follow our Five Steps to tackle this cruel content: 


  1. Be aware

  2. Report

  3. Do not watch

  4. Do not engage

  5. Do not share

Please allow for load time. Click image to move to next page
bottom of page