Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Maybe you have gone to see a movie, and in the movie it looked like an animal got hurt or even killed.  And maybe you were upset about this, but then at the end of the film, guess what!  It says "No animals were harmed® in the making of this film."  And then you feel lots better.

But did you ever wonder how a filmmaker protects the animals in the movie and gets to use that special registered trademark phrase saying that none of them were harmed?  Well, it's all because of the American Humane Association, which is the same group I mentioned yesterday that is celebrating Be Kind to Animals Week.  The AHA spends a lot of time worrying about animal abuse and also about child abuse, and they try to make everything better for both animals and for kids.

Hachi: A Dog's Tale
One very important thing that the AHA does is they can supervise the making of a movie and make sure no animals get hurt during the filming.  The AHA has lots of people who are trained to work on movie sets, and they consult with the director and actors and everybody to figure out how to get certain effects without anybody getting injured.  The AHA is the film industry's only official group for doing this kind of thing, so if filmmakers care about their animal actors, they will use this group.  Otherwise, they might get in trouble with animal-rights activists and the public.

101 Dalmations
In 1972, the American Humane Association first started putting out a newsletter called the National Humane Review, and in it they told people how animals had been treated in recent films.  At first, they just had two ratings:  Acceptable and Unacceptable.  Later on, they put out a set of guidelines for filmmakers to use and they also monitored filming, if they were asked to.  Before 1980, there were 107 films rated Unacceptable.  Then between 1980 and 1988, after the guidelines came out, 31 films were Unacceptable.  After 1988, only 16 films got that bad rating.

True Grit
Every year the AHA Film and TV Unit monitors about 1,000 filmed productions, both in the U.S. and in other countries.  Now a film can get an even better rating than Acceptable, and this rating is Monitored:  Outstanding.  Also the film gets the "no animals harmed" end credit.  Sadly, sometimes an accident happens that causes an animal to get hurt or even killed during the making of a film.  In this case, the AHA does an investigation, and if they decide the guidelines were followed, they rate the film Monitored:  Special Circumstances.

Water for Elephants
One movie that just came out has a whole bunch of animals in it, and this movie is Water for Elephants.  Mom read the book, and she wants to see the movie very soon.  I'd like to see the movie, too, because it has a Jack Russell terrier in it.  But dogs can't go into movie theaters, so I will have to wait and see the movie on DVD or HBO.  Anyway, if you want to see how the AHA helped keep all the animals safe while this movie was getting made, you can go here:  http://www.americanhumanefilmtv.org/water-for-elephants/   They explain how the elephant who plays the part of Rosie, and whose real name is Tai, got trained by positive reinforcement methods.  And also there is a little video about the making of the film.

So I just want to end this by saying that if I am ever in a movie, I hope the AHA is there to make sure I don't get hurt, and that I am allowed to take plenty of naps while I'm on the set.  But first I will have to find an agent to get me some auditions for nice, juicy roles!


  1. Hey, if the dog who acted in the movie was the star- Why can't he go to his own movie. If I were a dog and knew I couldn't go to my own movie then I would not do the jo

  2. Seabiscuit is a weird name!

  3. Maybe a dog who stars in a movie can go to the opening of the movie, but I don't know about that for sure. I would like to be the star of a movie just so I could get lots of money to buy dog treats and other yummy stuff.


  4. Yep, Seabiscuit is a weird name, but lots of race horses have weird names. I think it's because every horse that is registered has to have a name that is different from every other horse's name. Or maybe people who own race horses are just weird, too!