A new report claims the American Humane Association (AHA) has been negligent in ensuring animals are protected during movie productions.
According to an investigation by The Hollywood Reporter, the AHA has awarded the “no animals were harmed in the making of this movie” credit to films where animals were actually injured.
The publication says the AHA justifies this stamp of approval when animals aren't intentionally harmed.
In Ang Lee’s Academy Award-winning film, “Life of Pi,” a real tiger was used when a digital replacement wasn’t sufficient. A monitor for the AHA was supposed to oversee the safety of animals during the making of the film.
“This one take with him just went really bad and he got lost trying to swim to the side,” the monitor wrote in an internal email obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “Damn near drowned.”
The monitor also said in the email not to mention what happened to the office, and downplayed the tiger’s near-death experience.
During the making of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” 27 animals died, according to the report.
A husky “was punched repeatedly in its diaphragm” during the filming of Disney movie “Eight Below.”
Dozens of dead fish and squid were found during the filming of “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”
A number of these films, however, still received a “no animal was harmed in the making of this movie" tagline.
Part of the problem, the report notes, is that the AHA is essentially performing what the government would oversee with other issues.
Despite its accountability function, the nonprofit is organizing partnerships with the entertainment industry such as the annual Hero Dog Awards Gala.
“It’s made very clear that that promotion is not going to happen if that end credit is not granted. It’s a completely independent action,” AHA spokesman Mark Stubis told The Hollywood Reporter.
Congress has worked with Hollywood before on legislation that would help protect the welfare of animals.
In this Congress, however, none of the legislation addressing the issue directly tackles animal safety in movies, according to the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus. Reps. Jim MoranJames (Jim) Patrick MoranThe Hill's Top Lobbyists 2020 Lawmakers toast Greta Van Susteren's new show Star-studded cast to perform play based on Mueller report MORE (D-Va.) and John Campbell (R-Calif.) co-chair the group.