Bloodsports videos shot down by Facebook and YouTube

Hare videos on YouTubeAuthor's image
Youtube

Image caption

YouTube claimed to have removed content that violated policy guidelines, but the BBC found that some images remain on the site

Facebook and YouTube have removed content that promotes the illegal consumption of animals after a survey of the BBC Countryfile program.

But both websites still host users who have graphic videos and photos showing roosters and prohibited fights taking place in the UK.

Facebook has removed a user and said that the content "must comply with local laws".

YouTube said it had removed all the material highlighted by the BBC that violated its policy guidelines.

But much of the material found on both sites, both in private and public user groups, remains online.

& # 39; lucrative business & # 39;

The hare hunting, which sees the hares hunted by the dogs competing against each other, was banned from the 2004 Hunting Act while cockfighting was made illegal in the nineteenth century.

Geoff Edmond, the national wildlife coordinator of the RSPCA, who viewed the online material discovered by Countryfile, said: "We would ask for responsibility, it should be shot down, it's an illegal activity.

"It is up to these social media companies to take on this responsibility, but at the moment we are still talking to them to be responsible in the hope that this will happen.

"But I will always invite the public to call it to ourselves or the police because what matters to me is to stop it".

The program's investigators team monitored a number of YouTube and Facebook users and accounts for several months, including two private groups that together had more than 31,000 members.

Image caption

Illegal blood sports are a "lucrative business", says sergeant Kevin Kelly, of the rural police force in North Yorkshire

Images and videos have been published showing that hares have been captured and mistreated by dogs, trained cockerels who fight to death and users who mock the ban on beating hare.

Young children are present in some of the shooting and photographs.

Police across the UK have told the program that illegal bloodsports organizers are also using social media apps to share streaming material – to allow for wider gaming.

Sergeant Kevin Kelly, from the North Yorkshire Police rural task force, said cell phones seized in a rooster fight last year showed that there were clashes every two weeks – and the footage was much more widely shared .

"You can stream encrypted items, you can have private groups, you can chat, share your videos and organize events, it's a lucrative business," he said.

"Clear policies"

Sergeant Tom Carter, of the Sussex Police Rural Criminal Unit, said the crackdown on the hare in the UK meant that some hare courses were going abroad, organizing events and shooting in streaming in the United Kingdom.

He said: "We have hare courses that are making six digits every year purely for the hare, which can stream their friends in the pub or other people who are betting on it.

"He can go international, he can go to other countries where people bet on dogs, you can use the money transfer or even the cybernetic currency to bet".

Author's image
Facebook

Image caption

Countryfile has found Facebook accounts showing evidence of outlawed blood sports

Countryfile provided both Facebook and YouTube with links to evidence of illegal blood activities and hunting that its researchers had found online.

Facebook has removed a profile while YouTube has claimed to have removed all the material that has broken its guidelines.

A Facebook spokesperson said: "Content on Facebook must comply with local laws and adhere to our community standards.

"When governments believe that something on Facebook violates their laws, they are able to report it to us to take appropriate action, such as blood sports, where we rely on reports from the competent authorities."

In a statement, YouTube said: "YouTube has clear policies that prohibit graphic content and animal abuse and we remove videos that violate these policies when they are reported by our users."

Full features of the Countryfile story on BBC1 at 19:00 GMT on February 17th and later on iPlayer.