Fewer young people on the Isle of Wight have seen incidents of animal cruelty and neglect on social media sites so far this year (2018) compared to 2016, according to figures released by the RSPCA as the organisation calls for animal welfare to be taught in schools.

A poll by Beautiful Insights found 19.8% of 10-18 year olds in the South East have seen animal cruelty on social media sites. On the Isle of Wight, there have been two incidents spotted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and reported to the RSPCA so far this year, compared to 16 in 2016 and 3 in 2017.

The RSPCA has launched a petition calling for the issue to be included in schools, alongside an education and prevention programme called Generation Kind.

Chief Executive Chris Sherwood said:

“The number of children seeing animal abuse online is shocking – the current generation of children are witnessing horrifying animal cruelty and neglect through channels which simply didn’t exist for previous generations.

“The risk for children growing up in the 21st century is that frequent and casual exposure to animal abuse will desensitise them and may even make it seem acceptable. Animals need us now more than ever and we want to grow a new generation of young people who care, who are informed and who want to do their best for animals.”