Hollywood abuses its child actors routinely, and you really believed it was kind to animals?
Today the Hollywood Insider carries a thorough exposé revealing that the American Humane Association, which supposedly monitors films for their treatment of animals and grants the familiar“No Animals Were Harmed” trademark accreditation seen at the end of film and TV credits, participates in the covering-up of animal deaths and cruelty as much as it prevents them. The report suggests that the AHA has been thoroughly co-opted by the industry, so that it is not an objective advocate for the creatures it supposedly represents, but a willing participant in audience deception.
The smoking gun quote may be this one, from Dr. S. Kwane Stewart, the veterinarian who took over as the national director of the AHA’s “No Animals Were Harmed” program in April:
“This whole idea that we’re cozy with the industry — it’s simply not the case. We first and foremost want to keep the animals safe…[but] we need to keep in mind that [the producers and directors of productions the AHA monitors] want to arrive at their vision as well.”
This means, of course, that the AHA representatives are not acting as an advocate for the animals, but as a participant in the film-making process that balances the lives and welfare of the animals against the concerns, needs and profit motives of the speaking, spending, threatening and otherwise powerful human beings with which they share a species and common values. Gee–I wonder who has the most weight in reaching that balance…
The exposé begins with an account from an AHA representative on the set of “The Life of Pi,” in which she reveals that the tiger in the film nearly drowned.
“I think this goes without saying but DON’T MENTION IT TO ANYONE, ESPECIALLY THE OFFICE!” Gina Johnson wrote in the email. “I have downplayed the fuck out of it.” No wonder: Johnson was engaged in a romantic affair with a high-ranking production executive on the film. This is just one of the examples of conflicts the Hollywood Reporter uncovered. The response of an industry executive to the issue was to shrug it away, saying, “I can understand how that would raise an eyebrow. But it’s almost like when a coach has a son on the team and that coach is more difficult on that son than other people.”
As it turns out, “No animals were harmed,” as often as not, means such non-obvious variations as…
- “No animals were harmed intentionally.”
- “No animals anyone cares about were harmed.”
- “No big animals were harmed.”
- “Remember, we never said we don’t put them in danger of being harmed, now…”
- “Fish were harmed, but they don’t count.”
- “It was the animal’s fault if it was harmed.”
- “Being made sick isn’t really being harmed.”
- “You can’t say almost drowning is being harmed…”
- “…Except for that chipmunk the trainer stepped on, but he was really sorry.”
- “Some of them just died, but it was their time, and they lived long, full lives, and
- “This was a Stephen Spielberg film, and if he says no horses were harmed, no horses were harmed. Understand?”
It is an excellent, if disturbing, report. But is shouldn’t be surprising. You can read it here.
Facts: Hollywood Reporter