Role of the AHA
You’ve seen or heard the message when watching television and movies that “no animals were harmed in the making of this film/show.” But what does that mean, really? Here’s some information on the very limited role of American Humane Association’s Film and TV Unit
- The AHA monitors the treatment of animals during filming of movies and TV shows when asked to do so by a producer or other representative.
- The AHA does not monitor the treatment of animals where they are housed and trained pre-production, during which time there is the greatest potential for abuse.
- The AHA gives producers a stamp of approval if they believe that no animals were mistreated while on set, which states, “No animals were harmed in the making of this film.”
- It is still possible for a movie or TV show to make money and do well even if the AHA discovers animal mistreatment on set and does not give the “no animals were harmed” endorsement. The movie Speed Racer was rated “unacceptable” even after a chimpanzee bit a human actor on-set. The AHA representative also saw the trainer hit the chimpanzee during filming, but the movie’s release was not affected by the rating.
- Therefore, the AHA does not prevent trainers from exploiting and abusing animals. An unacceptable rating does not shut down productions.
- The language used in the AHA guidelines is suggestive, but many of the suggestions are not requirements. For instance, the AHA recommends that producers request USDA reports from primate trainers, and suggests that they refuse to work with any trainer with violations. They also encourage producers to consider the “impact on primate socialization, due to the separation of infant primates from their mothers” and inquire as to whether there is “retirement planning for performing apes” before choosing to work with apes in the media.