WASHINGTON, D.C., November 25 -- The Hollywood Reporter recently ran a story that distorts the work and record of a respected nonprofit organization that has kept millions of beloved animal actors safe on film and television sets around the world for more than 70 years.
The article paints a picture that is completely unrecognizable to us or anyone who knows American Humane Association’s work. Far from allowing abuse or neglect to occur, we have a remarkably high safety record of 99.98 percent on set. Over a span of many years, despite our best efforts, there have occasionally been rare accidents, most of them minor and not intentional. Regrettably, there have even been some deaths, which upset us greatly, but in many of the cases reported, they had nothing to do with the animals’ treatment on set, or occurred when the animals were not under our care. For example:
When a Certified Safety Representative is on the set and an incident occurs, the animal stops working, is given veterinary care and not allowed to return to work until it is reported sound by the attending veterinarian. This practice is vital. Recognizing injury is vital to preventing abuse from occurring, thus providing humane protections for animal actors. Although the article criticizes the distinction between accidental injury and intentional harm, that is precisely why the program exists - to reasonably make that distinction. This program is about prevention and as with any good safety program, American Humane Association is continually improving.
Under the new senior administration of American Humane Association, a comprehensive program review of the No Animals Were Harmed® program was conducted in 2011 and 2012. These actions are bringing about game-changing innovations and enhancements that are being implemented to further increase the rigor of the safety standards while improving the quality of oversight for enhanced protections for animals working in entertainment. This new administration has made broad, sweeping changes for enhanced protections for animals working in film and entertainment. These changes were necessary, mission-driven, and will continue to build a better and safer future for the animals we love. The improvements include:
American Humane Association has made tough changes to ensure that the No Animals Were Harmed® program is structured to meet the humane charter with which we have been entrusted. It’s all about the animal actors and ensuring their safety. Abuse in film and entertainment is not pervasive, as the salacious headlines imply; rather our experience is that most everyone we work with in production settings want to do right by the animals, as do we.
We are extremely proud of the work American Humane Association has done for more than 70 years to protect millions of animals on movie and television production sets. We are a mission-driven small nonprofit that has not only worked to protect animals working in film and entertainment across the country and around the globe, we have done so by utilizing millions of dollars of our own funds so that the certified animal safety representatives could be on more than 2,000 sets a year, making sure that some 100,000 of our most beloved animal co-stars are treated humanely and kept safe each and every year.
For us, the welfare of the animals always comes first, which is reflected by our remarkable safety rate of 99.98 percent. Our overall record for years is one of caring and success.