YouTube removed hundreds of videos of animal abuse from its service on Monday after it became the focus of an international campaign by animal rights activists.
The videos were removed by users who used the search bar to search for the word “animal cruelty” and then “animal abuse,” and then uploaded to the platform’s archive.
The videos included the videos of animals being tortured, shot, and killed by people in the US and Canada.
In its announcement, YouTube said the videos had violated its Community Guidelines.
YouTube said it will investigate the accounts involved.
The company has been under pressure from animal rights groups and animal welfare groups, who say the videos are exploitative and should be removed.
The American Humane Association (AHA) has accused YouTube of ignoring reports of abuse and death of animals and said the company needs to take a stand against its abusers.
“YouTube has no place as a platform for videos of abuse of animals,” AHA executive director and vice president for international advocacy, Sarah Denton, said in a statement on Monday.
“We call on YouTube to remove the videos immediately.”
She said YouTube was “trying to hide behind the veil of ‘community guidelines’,” adding that the “public deserves to know that this abhorrent behavior is condoned by YouTube’s community guidelines.”
The AHA said it is “working with other organisations to get the videos removed”.
A number of prominent American internet companies, including Netflix, Google and Amazon, have been criticised for the use of animals in their videos.
Netflix, for example, has said it does not use animals in its content.