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Stop Animal Cruelty Behind the Camera

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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

It's time to end the barbaric practice of animal cruelty in the film industry. Take action!


Imagine sitting in a dimly lit theater, eagerly awaiting the start of a highly anticipated film. The screen flickers to life, and as the story unfolds, you become engrossed in its narrative. But amidst the dazzling cinematography and gripping performances, there's a lingering question that begins to gnaw at your conscience: What price are we paying for this entertainment?

Animal rights advocates have long sounded the alarm about the treatment of animals in the film industry. Shockingly, there are currently no federal or state laws specifically governing the use of animals in filmed media1. This loophole allows for a shadowy underbelly to persist, where animals are harmed and even killed in the name of cinematic storytelling.

Rules and Laws: Protecting Animals on Set

In an effort to safeguard animal welfare during film production, guidelines and regulations have been put in place. The American Humane Association (AHA) oversees the implementation of guidelines known as the "No Animals Were Harmed" program2. These guidelines require filmmakers to ensure the well-being of animals on set, including providing proper housing, food, and veterinary care. Animal safety representatives are also present during filming to monitor and report any violations.

Furthermore, in the United States, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) establishes minimum requirements for animal care, handling, and transportation, including in the film industry3.

Loopholes and Gaps: Exploitation at the Expense of Animals

Despite these regulations, animals in film continue to face risks and harm. Loopholes and gaps in the system allow for unethical practices to persist. Some animals, like fish, reptiles, and birds, may not receive the same level of protection as mammals due to exemptions in oversight4. Additionally, international productions may operate under different regulations or lack effective enforcement mechanisms altogether5.

The Brutality of Harming or Killing Animals in Film

Harming or killing animals for the sake of cinematic storytelling is a brutal and unnecessary practice. It not only causes immense suffering to innocent creatures but also perpetuates a culture of disregard for their welfare. Even renowned filmmaker Quentin Tarantino draws a clear line when it comes to animal cruelty onscreen. He recognizes the incompetence and lack of justification in showcasing real harm to animals, highlighting the crucial distinction between make-believe violence and actual suffering6.

Ending the Barbaric Practice of Animal Cruelty in Film

The time has come for the film industry to reevaluate its treatment of animals and take a stand against this barbaric practice. Stricter regulations and enforcement are necessary to ensure comprehensive protection for all animals involved in filmmaking, regardless of species. Filmmakers also have the option to embrace alternative methods, such as computer-generated imagery (CGI) and animatronics, to depict animal characters without subjecting live animals to potential harm.

As consumers, we have a responsibility to support ethical filmmaking practices. By choosing films that prioritize animal welfare and advocating for stronger regulations, we can contribute to the shift towards a more compassionate and humane film industry.

Help ensure animals are respected and their well-being is not sacrificed for the sake of entertainment. Sign the petition below and make a difference!

More on this issue:

  1. Vincent Rizzo, Animal Legal & Historical Center (2012), "Overview of Laws Concerning Animals in Film Media."
  2. American Humane (2023), "No Animals Were Harmed."
  3. Henry Cohen, Journal of Animal Law (2006), "The Animal Welfare Act."
  4. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) (11 January 2022), "Animal Welfare Act."
  5. Thierry Auffret van der Kemp, La Fondation Droit Animal (2021), "To which animals does animal welfare apply in law and why?"
  6. Samantha Bergeson, IndieWire (14 June 2023), "Quentin Tarantino Has a ‘Big Thing’ Against Killing Animals in His Movies: ‘A Bridge I Can’t Cross’."
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The Petition:

Dear members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,

I write to you today as a concerned individual who deeply values the welfare and dignity of all living beings. It is with a heavy heart and a resolute conviction that I implore you to take a bold and necessary step towards safeguarding the lives of innocent animals by implementing a full ban on films in which they are harmed or killed during production.

In the dimly lit theaters that we enter, seeking solace and entertainment, we become captivated by the stories unfolding before our eyes. We witness the triumphs and tragedies, and we allow ourselves to be transported to other worlds. Yet, as we immerse ourselves in the artistry and craftsmanship of these films, a question lingers in the depths of our conscience: What price are we paying for this entertainment?

Animal rights advocates have long sounded the alarm about the treatment of animals in the film industry. Despite the existence of guidelines and regulations designed to protect these vulnerable creatures, a disturbing truth persists. Animals are subjected to harm and even death in the name of cinematic storytelling. This reality shatters our illusion of a compassionate and just society, and it is imperative that we confront it head-on.

Every living being has the inherent right to a life free from unnecessary suffering. It is a fundamental principle that must guide our actions and decisions. When animals are subjected to harm or killed in the making of a film, it is not only a betrayal of their trust but also a reflection of our collective disregard for their welfare. It perpetuates a culture of exploitation, where the lives of these sentient beings are seen as expendable for the sake of our entertainment.

While there are existing guidelines in place, such as the American Humane Association's "No Animals Were Harmed" program and the Animal Welfare Act, they are not enough. Loopholes and exemptions allow for unethical practices to persist, leaving certain animals, such as fish, reptiles, and birds, without adequate protection. International productions may operate under different regulations or lack effective enforcement mechanisms altogether, further exposing animals to potential harm.

The brutality of harming or killing animals for the purpose of cinematic storytelling is a stain on the very essence of art and creativity. It goes against the core values of compassion, empathy, and respect that we should strive to uphold.

We, the undersigned, earnestly request that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences takes a definitive stand against the exploitation of animals in film. We implore you to establish a full ban on films in which animals are harmed or killed during production, regardless of the species or context. This ban should encompass all stages of filmmaking, including pre-production, production, and post-production, to ensure comprehensive protection for all animals involved.

We recognize the artistic challenges that such a ban may pose. However, we firmly believe that the ingenuity and creativity of the film industry can rise above these challenges. We encourage filmmakers to embrace alternative methods, such as computer-generated imagery (CGI) and animatronics, to depict animal characters without subjecting live animals to potential harm.

As members of the audience, we also bear a responsibility. We pledge to support ethical filmmaking practices by choosing films that prioritize animal welfare. We commit to advocating for stronger regulations within the industry and spreading awareness about the importance of compassionate storytelling. Together, we can foster a culture that celebrates creativity without compromising the lives of innocent beings.

In taking this courageous step towards a full ban, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will inspire other film institutions and organizations worldwide to follow suit. By becoming a trailblazer in animal welfare, you have the power to create a profound and lasting impact on the film industry. Let us work hand in hand to create a world where animals are respected, cherished, and their well-being is not sacrificed for the sake of entertainment.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We believe in the transformative power of art and film. Please act decisively to protect the lives of animals in the film industry.

Sincerely,

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