Protecting Animal Actors

From 30 second walk-ons to starring roles, animals appear in countless
movies, TV episodes, and commercials. And if the production took place in the US, Canada, or Mexico, there were advocates present to safeguard them. Since 1940, the Film and Television Unit of the American Humane Association has fought to safeguard the lives of these actors who cannot speak for themselves. Formed in response to the brutal death of a horse in the filming of the 1939 movie "Jesse James," AHA representatives discuss any stunts or special effects that will be used in upcoming shots. Directors, trainers, and AHA reps work together to guarantee that the animals used in the production are not stressed, overworked, or harmed in any way.

AHA field reps also travel outside North America if invited by an overseas production seeking their endorsement that no animals were abused, injured, or killed in the making of the film. Ratings and reviews of films with animals can be found at their website

It is important to note that a film can earn an "Acceptable" rating based on the treatment of animals during production, but still contain scenes depicting the abuse or killing of animals. Dedicated to safeguarding animals during production, AHA will not refuse to monitor a production if they find the story content objectionable, but they will make note of the material in their review. If you check the complete AHA review of a film, it will detail animal treatment during production, any objectionable material contained in the storyline, and how some of the more complex stunts were done.