You’ve likely heard about the sudden cancellation of the HBO horse racing drama “Luck” after the deaths of three horses during production. Well, that got me thinking about who makes sure animals aren’t mistreated by Hollywood. Today, I’m trying to learn more about the rules and regulations governing the use of animals in film, television and commercial productions. (Of course, others are wondering if the cancellation was due to bad ratings rather than mistreated animals.)
The American Humane Society’s Film & TV unit has exclusive jurisdiction from the Screen Actors Guild to supervise the use of animals on set. Every year, the unit monitors about 2,000 filmed productions in the United States and abroad. It’s the presence of the Society’s certified animal safety representatives during production that leads to the “No Animals Were Harmed” stamp of approval in the end credits of films.(Listen to my interview with PETA below).
Concern about the treatment of animals in films was first prompted by the death of a horse during the filming of “Jesse James” in 1939. The first official “No Animals Were Harmed” disclaimer was used in the 1972 film “The Doberman Gang” in 1972. Watch the doberman in action, below: