Hollywood: Protect Animals!
On the heels of a Los Angeles Times report about whistleblowers’ allegations that oversight failures may have led to animal injuries and deaths during film and TV productions, PETA was joined by Hollywood animal advocates Bob Barker and Sam Simon for a news conference calling for immediate action to protect animals.
Report: Horses Died on Movie Sets
PETA was flooded with complaints from whistleblowers after we released leaked information earlier this year about the deaths of horses on the set of HBO’s Luck. The complaints refer, in part, to the American Humane Association (AHA)—the organization assigned to monitor the use of animals on TV and film sets.
Allegations from the whistleblowers include the following:
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Horses were drugged with banamine, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, indicating that they were not considered fit, and some of the horses used were later sold and shipped for slaughter in Mexico. The AHA acknowledged in its first review of the film that not all scenes involving animals were monitored, yet it gave the film an “Outstanding” rating and later downgraded it to “Acceptable.”
- The Hobbit: According to a New Zealand newspaper article, three horses being used in the production died. One miniature horse was housed with larger, high-strung horses who trampled him. A second horse was placed in a partially fenced area that bordered a cliff with a sharp drop to a river below; the horse was found dead at the bottom of the cliff. The third horse died from unexplained causes, possibly related to feed.
Giving Meaning to ‘No Animals Harmed’ Ratings
During the news conference at PETA’s Bob Barker Building in Los Angeles, legendary The Price Is Right host Barker and The Simpsons co-creator Simon backed PETA’s appeal for the AHA to launch an immediate investigation into the allegations. To ensure that the AHA’s ratings have any meaning, PETA presented a series of recommendations for an overhaul of the monitoring system, including the following:
- Banning the use of great apes in all productions and requiring that all films using great apes receive an “Unacceptable” rating
- Using animal-safety representatives who are experts on the species whose use they will be monitoring
- Requiring a representative to be present every time an animal is used in order to grant an AHA rating
- Ensuring that representatives report all animal welfare concerns to the production team and that they stop production if an animal could possibly be harmed. Incidents of cruelty must be reported to law-enforcement authorities as well.
- Prohibiting the use of bullhooks, whips, electrical shock devices, and other weapons
What can you do? Don’t see movies that exploit animals! If you’re at a movie and see animals being used, walk out and demand your money back. Find the movie or production company on Facebook and voice your concerns. Remember: These animals can’t fight back on their own—they need you.