Youth Engagement with Pet-Related Social Media Sparks Concern for Animal Welfare

Youth Engagement with Pet-Related Social Media Sparks Concern for Animal Welfare


A recent survey conducted telecommunications firm DNA has revealed that young people between the ages of 16 and 24 are the most engaged demographic when it comes to pet-related social media content. They both follow pet-related social media channels and frequently post content about their own pets. While this trend may seem harmless, animal welfare experts are expressing concerns about the potential negative impact on animals.

Kati White, the executive director at Animal Welfare Finland (SEY), is worried about the increasing popularity of pet-related videos. She explains, “If the goal is only to gain followers or likes, consideration for an animal’s welfare often takes a backseat.” This raises concerns about the well-being of animals who may be subjected to dressing up or performing funny acts solely for the sake of social media content.

In 2020, a quarter of Finns followed animal-related social media accounts, and the numbers have likely increased since then. During the pandemic, 22 percent of women and 13 percent of men in Finland were posting content about their pets on their personal accounts, with a smaller percentage creating dedicated social media channels for their furry friends.

Animal welfare experts like Noora Schuurman from Turku University also express concerns about the “petfluencer” phenomenon. Dressing up animals and creating amusement through potentially uncomfortable outfits or situations can compromise their well-being. Schuurman advises viewers to exercise caution when encountering such content, particularly if it appears suspicious or potentially harmful to animals. She emphasizes that animals are at their best when they can live their own natural lives.

This growing trend has prompted discussions on animal protection in Finland. Last month, a citizens’ initiative to include animal protection in the Finnish constitution garnered the necessary 50,000 signatures to be debated lawmakers in Parliament.

While pet-related social media content can be entertaining, it is essential to prioritize the welfare of animals and consider the potential effects on their well-being. Balancing the desire for likes and followers with responsible pet ownership is crucial to ensure the safety and happiness of our furry companions.

Sources: Yle News, STT

Definition: Telecommunications firm DNA – A company that provides telecommunication services in Finland.

Definition: Animal Welfare Finland (SEY) – An organization dedicated to promoting animal welfare in Finland.

Definition: Petfluencer – A term used to describe pets with a significant following on social media platforms.

Definition: Citizens’ Initiative – A legislative proposal initiated and supported citizens of a country.