- Animal rights charity Lady Freethinker filed a lawsuit against YouTube, The New York Times reports.
- The lawsuit claimed YouTube had failed to keep animal-abuse videos off its platform, per The Times.
- Lady Freethinker said that as of September, 70% of videos it had alerted YouTube about remained live.
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An animal rights charity hit YouTube with a lawsuit on Monday, claiming the platform had failed in its duty to remove videos of animal abuse, The New York Times reports.
The lawsuit was filed Monday by animal rights charity Lady Freethinker, The Times reported. The founder of Lady Freethinker, Nina Jackel, told The Times the charity had been asking YouTube to tackle animal abuse on its platform for 18 months.
Last year, the charity alerted YouTube to 2,000 videos with a combined 1.2 billion views, but as of September, roughly 70% of the videos remained live, Jackel told The Times.
"We've tried to have a meaningful conversation with them multiple times, and been shut down," Jackel told The Times, adding, "We're knocking on the door, and nobody is answering. So this lawsuit is kind of a last straw."
"We agree that content depicting violence or abuse toward animals has no place on YouTube," a YouTube spokesperson told Insider in a statement.
"While we've always had strict policies prohibiting animal abuse content, earlier this year, we expanded our violent and graphic policy to more clearly prohibit content featuring deliberate physical suffering or harm to animals, including staged animal rescues. As with any significant update, it takes time for our systems to fully ramp up enforcement. Our teams are working hard to quickly remove violative content and just this year alone, we've removed hundreds of thousands of videos and terminated thousands of channels for violating these policies," the spokesperson added.
Per The Times, a video of a python constricting a puppy, one of a baby monkey being pinched and prodded, and another of a monkey being forced to fight off a snake we all live on YouTube on Monday.
YouTube removed nine out of the 10 animal videos The Times shared with the company, per the report. It did not remove one showing a live rabbit being fed to a python, and declined to explain why the video didn't violate the platform's rules, The Times reported.
The Times reported that Lady Freethinker also sent a letter to the Justice Department saying YouTube had aided violations of the "animal crushing" law, which bans people from creating videos of animals being crushed.
Earlier this year, Lady Freethinker shared an investigation with Insider into videos on YouTube of staged animal rescues, in which animals such as dogs and cats were placed near animals like snakes before being taken away by humans.
Lady Freethinker and Insider found ads for major brands including Facebook, Disney, and Land Rover running next to the videos, and YouTube subsequently updated its policy on animal cruelty to include staged rescues.