The use of animals in film and television has been a controversial issue for decades. While some argue that it is harmless entertainment and provides an opportunity for animals to be showcased, others argue that it is cruel and exploits animals for human pleasure.
Animal rights groups have been advocating for the end of the use of animals in entertainment for years, and for good reason. The treatment of animals on set is often horrific, and the psychological and physical impact of being forced to perform can be devastating.
The Harmful Role of Animals in Film and Television
The use of animals in entertainment is not just limited to films and television shows. Animals are also commonly used in commercials and advertisements, circuses, and theme parks. These animals are often forced to perform unnatural acts or are subjected to harmful conditions such as confinement, neglect, and abusive training practices.
For example, the documentary «Blackfish» shed light on the treatment of killer whales at Sea World. The film exposed the psychological trauma that the whales were experiencing as a result of being confined to small tanks and being forced to perform for the entertainment of humans. The film sparked significant public outrage, and as a result, Sea World announced that they would no longer breed killer whales or use them in shows.
Similarly, the use of animals in films and television can have harmful effects as well. The use of live animals in action scenes, such as car chases or explosions, puts the animals at significant risk of injury or death. Additionally, the conditions on set are often unsafe and stressful for animals, such as bright lights, loud noises, and being surrounded by strangers.
Furthermore, the psychological impact of being forced to perform can be devastating for animals. Many animals used in entertainment suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression. They are often trained using harsh methods, such as electric prods and whips, and forced to perform over and over again until the desired shot is achieved.
The Entertainment Industry’s Responsibility
The responsibility of the use of animals in entertainment ultimately falls on the shoulders of the entertainment industry. While animal welfare laws exist, they are often not enough to protect animals from harm on set. It is up to production companies, directors, and animal trainers to ensure that animals are treated with respect and kindness on set.
Several high-profile incidents of animal abuse on set have made headlines in recent years. For example, in 2017, a video depicting a German shepherd being forced into turbulent water on the set of the film «A Dog’s Purpose» went viral. As a result, animal welfare organizations called for a boycott of the film, and the incident sparked a debate about the use of animals in film and television.
In response, the American Humane Association (AHA), the organization responsible for monitoring animal safety on set, implemented several new policies, including requiring trainers to provide detailed reports on animal behavior, drug use, and training methods.
However, the AHA has been criticized for not being vigilant enough in its efforts to protect animals on set. In 2013, a horse was killed on the set of «Luck» after suffering an injury during a race scene. The incident sparked an investigation, and the AHA was criticized for failing to prevent the death.
The Future of Animal Welfare in Entertainment
Despite efforts by animal rights organizations and measures put in place by the entertainment industry, the use of animals in entertainment is still prevalent. However, there are signs of progress in the fight for animal welfare in entertainment.
Several high-profile actors and directors have spoken out against the use of animals in entertainment. Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara famously met with representatives from the animal rights organization Mercy For Animals to discuss the role of animals in the entertainment industry.
Additionally, advancements in technology have made it easier for filmmakers to create realistic animal scenes using computer-generated imagery (CGI). Films like «The Jungle Book» and «The Lion King» utilized CGI technology to create lifelike animal characters, reducing the need for live animals on set.
Furthermore, several countries have enacted legislation to ban or restrict the use of animals in entertainment. India, for example, has banned the use of all animals in circuses, while the UK has banned the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.
The Importance of Supporting Animal Welfare Organizations
While there is progress being made, the fight for animal welfare in entertainment is far from over. It is important for individuals to support animal welfare organizations such as PETA, Mercy For Animals, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, who work tirelessly to advocate for the rights of animals in all areas of life.
Additionally, individuals can make a difference by choosing to support films and television shows that do not use live animals. By boycotting productions that exploit animals, individuals can send a message to the entertainment industry that animal welfare is a priority.
In conclusion, the use of animals in entertainment is a divisive and controversial issue. While some argue that it is harmless fun, the reality is that animals are often subjected to horrific treatment and forced to perform in unnatural and stressful conditions. It is time for the entertainment industry to take responsibility for the role that animals play in film and television and to prioritize their welfare. It is up to all of us to advocate for animal rights and to hold the entertainment industry accountable for their treatment of animals on set.