No Animals Were Harmed – All About Animal Actors

Animal Activists: Interview with Sandi Buck, American Humane and Certified Animal Safety Representative

Q: What is the American Humane Film & TV Unit?

A: American Humane (AH) Film & TV Unit is located at Los Angeles and we monitor the use of animals in media. American Humane is a national organisation with its headquarters in Denver, Colorado. We are among the Certified Animal Safety Representatives who are on set and supervise the usage of animals in films and on television. We offer our clients with the “No Animals Were Harmed(r) in the Making of this Movie” disclaimer that appears at the end of credits of a film.

Q: When do you think you get the American Film & TV Unit begin?

A: In the year 1926 AH established a group to look into the abuse of animals in the film industry. In the past horses were among the most vulnerable actor of animals. However, at the time, like today, animals don’t have legal rights in themselves, and therefore we could not guarantee the safety of the animals who were acting. In 1939, in the movie “Jesse James,” a horse and its rider were forced to fall over 70 feet of cliff into a river that was raging for an action scene. The stuntman survived however the horse’s back was injured during the fall, and it ended up dying. Visit:-

The outrage caused by this incident sparked an uneasy relationship between AH and a few motion picture producers and directors and prompted for the Hays Office to include humane treatment of animals in the Motion Picture Code. In the following calendar year AH was granted permission to supervise the making of films that used animals. We were on set for a long time after that , until that the Hays Office was disbanded in 1966, thereby ending our authority and disallowing us from set. It was a very difficult period for animal actors who were used in cruel ways.

In the early 1980s, another incident triggered another outcry in the public and American Humane was added to the agreement with SAG which required that union-owned films notify us when they used animals. The agreement now covers any form of film that includes commercials, television direct-to-video projects, as well as music videos. More information about the history of the agreement is at our site. At present, we are monitoring around 900 films per year, possibly more. This doesn’t include commercials.

Q: Did you think animals don’t are legally entitled to any rights?

A: That’s correct. Animals do not have “legal” rights in the sense that humans do. However, due to the SAG agreement, animals in SAG films are granted “contractual” rights because the AH office must be contacted by producers that use animals, and an AH Film and TV Representative of the Unit must be present during filming.

Q: What is the situation with non-union productions?

A The productions that are nonunion are not legally bound to reach us, however we have found that many people would like us to be there. I’ve worked on several productions that state”We want you here. “We want you here. We want that rating at the end of our film and we want people to know what we had you on set.”

Q: Do you think the people on set are thrilled to be there?

A: Generally , yes, however, there are times when it isn’t. Actors are always thrilled to see us on set. They stare at my AH patch on my jacket and walk close to me on set to say “Oh, you’re here for the animals. That’s so great, I’m so happy you’re here.” We want that. We would like people to find us, to be aware that we’re here, and to know why we’re there. In terms of production, it is based on how they perceive us, and whether they’ve previously worked with us before. The people we’ve worked with previously are awestruck by our presence. People who haven’t had the pleasure of working with us before might consider “oh, no, here comes the animal police to patrol us,” as if I’m standing there holding my arms around my waist and tell them what they should and shouldn’t do. We’re not doing that. We’re not here to make a fuss about. We’re here to collaborate with filmmakers and not to slam them. If we spot a problem we’ll take it up with the filmmaker and solve it together. In Florida For instance one of the biggest issues is heat. In one particular production the producer requested dogs to go between two spots on the road. I informed the director that there was something wrong with this. I knew that he wouldn’t like me being on set however, I said to him that regardless, “You take off your shoes and walk across that street.” He walked out onto the street, placed his hands on the pavement and then said “Yeah, you’re right.” He was not trying to hurt the animal, but he was not thinking of the creature, heat, as well as the road. This is one reason why we’re in the set. We don’t think that filmmakers should also be experts on animals. Even those who don’t personally consider themselves animal lovers often realize that it is logical to include us in their films. A lot of people will not go to a film where they believe or have heard that animals were hurt or even killed. They look for the AH declaration at the end of the film that states – “No Animals Were Harmed(r) in the Making of this Film.”

Q: How can filmmakers obtain an “No Harm” disclaimer for their films?

1. The procedure begins when the production team contacts the Los Angeles office to let us know they intend to employ animals. We guide the production to follow our Guidelines that are accessible on the internet , and then ask them to write their own script. We go through the script and then arrange to visit and watch the animal’s actions to make sure that the environment where the animals are maintained are safe and secure. The union doesn’t have to pay the production any money – it’s part of the agreement in SAG. SAG office.

Q: What happens to nonunion productions? Do they have the “No Animals were Harmed(r)” Disclaimer?

A: The procedure to obtain the disclaimer is identical, but there’s a $30 per hour cost for each hour we’re working on set. The time we put into the pre-production evaluation of scripts and filming the films and writing reviews is included in the $30 per hour fee for on set.

Q: Can students and independent filmmakers receive the Disclaimer?

A: Absolutely, if they are in compliance with the rules for it. If they have any questions the only thing they have to do is contact the LA office and inquire. The LA office is ready to assist young and budding filmmakers by providing guidance and advice about how to use animals safely for their film. If they’re currently creating a script, they can contact us to inquire if specific scenes are feasible , and also for guidance on how to create the action and scenes they desire. Productions that are unable to get an AH representative on the set due to of costs or scheduling conflicts could note down the things they’re planning to do and record the filming of the animal’s action using an introductory video, or a behind-the-scenes – like we did it, kind of thing and then send it to us. We look over it and, although we aren’t able to say that we actually were there but we can say by our analysis that the production complied with the Guidelines. This rating is referred to as “Not Monitored: Production Compliant.”

What number of rating are there?

A: The film has a variety of ratings that vary from our highest “Monitored: Outstanding” and getting the “No Animals were Harmed”(r) disclaimer that is included in the credit of the movie, up to “Not Monitored,” to our lowest rating , which is “Monitored Unacceptable” – where our rules and guidelines for animal safety were not followed and inattention caused accident or death of the animal. Achieving a high rating will ensure that the production is successful. If a film is only half completed and an animal that is essential to the film gets scared and becomes loose or hurt, it’s as if losing a leading human actor. What can the producer do? Re-shoot the animal scene with an animal actor? Write a new script? Rewrite the script? Professional trainers have a variety of dogs that have different abilities and appear similar. One is a very good barking dog, another is an excellent jumper and another is a different breed. This is helpful in the event that one dog is injured or sick and the filming will not stop. Many of the most dangerous situations can be avoided by preparation. I try to spot potential issues and make sure that everything is as secure as is possible for everyone. There are always risks and there’s no way to avoid it. It happens every day. It is possible to ensure that things are as safe as you can, but there are always risks. We are aware of that. The main point is that if filmmakers decide to make use of animals, including their pets, they must call the LA office.