Often these photographs are of a wild animal, killed and brutally mutilated by some wealthy adventure-hunter on a ‘safari’ holiday.
Often the poor animal is being held up by the grinning killer – like a trophy. Like it was funny. Like it was an achievement.
We are then asked to comment – if we think this is cruel etc.
So what do we do ?
Of course we think it’s cruel. We are often genuinely upset by the images.
We want to express our disgust, naturally enough, so we comment and share the post.
We hate animal cruelty but there is also an element of virtue signalling going on – we want others to know we hate it too.
Nothing wrong with that.
But what does all this commenting and sharing actually do?
FREE ADVERTISING FOR HUNTING HOLIDAYS
Facebook posts are not inspected by humans.
The Facebook algorithm flags those posts we comment on, and share the most of.
Then it boosts them.
The more we comment and share, the more we are ensuring that a post is flagged by the Facebook algorithm as a popular post.
That post is then shown to more and more users – more disgust, more comments and shares, and so it goes.
This is also how like-farming works. Our empathy is being used.
In other words, we are inadvertently giving safari holiday organizers and their supporters one great big chunk of free advertising.
Think about it. No animal lover is going to go on a hunting holiday – either before, or after seeing the photos.
Preaching to the converted does not convert.
It is more likely that those with a taste for hunting already, maybe on a small scale, will find those pictures exciting.
Yes! Alongside the many animal lovers in the world there are also millions and millions of people who have no regard for animals at all. At all.
They have no understanding that animals can feel anything nd if they did they wouldn’t care anyway. Not a bit.
Is a picture of the head of a dead tiger going to make them care?
No, it will just excite them – there are people like that and many of them.
They are not like you and me.
Excitement at the sight of dead animals might just inspire them to go on a ‘real’ hunt and become ‘real’ men and women.
The opposite of what we wanted when we commented and shared, right?
In other words, when we share our disgust on these photographs we are actually helping to advertise cruel fantasies to cruel people.
So next time you are tempted to comment on these photographs – think carefully.
Ignoring them starves the cruel perpetrators of any more free publicity and advertising.
If you really want to help, then there are better ways.
Spread the real benefits of caring for animals and encourage others to rescue also.
You can support reputable charities – those whose money goes where it should.
But, and I hate saying this, there have been many scandals involving large charities- so always check out the charities you support.
You want your hard-earned money to save those beautiful wild cats, not those fat-cat executives.
WILD ANIMAL RESCUE
However, I’m no expert on charities and you should carry out your own checks – it’s your money.
In the meantime, remember – your empathy and sympathy are products to scammers – don’t let them sell it.