A viral video of a farm sheep getting stuck in a tire swing and her fruitless attempts at freeing itself has started a controversy in social media between those who see animal cruelty on it and those who find it funny.
The divisive footage recorded in an English farm was posted on Facebook by Farm Watcher UK, a social media group that focuses on raising awareness about domestic animals mistreatment, on August 8, and has sparked many reactions.
Despite the reason the page administrators might have had when they decided to share the video, the most common reaction by online commenters in social media when they watch it is to laugh at it, but they have faced opposition from some users.
The brief video shows a sheep trying to escape from a tire swing that is stuck around its mid-body, only to be lifted by the rope every time the animal runs with the hope of getting free, making it involuntarily swing in a peculiar way.
Halfway through the clip, the person who originally recorded and shared the video, whose identity remains unknown, can be heard saying: ‘Oh, dear, that’s funny’ before breaking into laughter. Read more on our Twitter account @amomama_usa
His commentary and the fact that he kept recording instead of helping the sheep out fueled the anger of some of the most committed animal advocates in social media, who filled the comments section with criticism.
“Why is this funny it’s obvious the animal is distressed. Cruel,” wrote Eunice Ann Green on Facebook, starting a debate with other users who think that she was taking things too seriously, arguing that no real harm was done to the sheep.
“I'm distressed by the distressed who obviously have no clue as to what farm life is. Things happen. Have you never heard, ‘It's better to laugh about it than to cry about it.’? Stop and smell the roses people. You might actually enjoy life along the way,” replied Shantay Dugas Daigle.
The question remains open on whether the sheep got stuck in the tire swing by itself or somebody put it there for comical effect, but it is pretty clear that the animal didn’t suffer any harm.
If you wonder if animals could enjoy a certain grade of a sense of humor, let’s see what science can tell us about it. According to Marc Bekoff from the University of Colorado, there is some evidence that suggests animals can find things funny.
Bekoff pointed out the fact that Charles Darwin, the scientist behind the theory of evolution, believed that “the difference between human and animal intelligence is a matter of degree, not of kind.”
“If we have a sense of humor, then nonhuman animals should have a sense of humor, too,” said Bekoff, who is an evolutionary biology professor and author of a book titled The Emotional Lives of Animals.