No Humans Were Harmed in the Making of this Film
There’s no sugarcoating it — it’s a fact; as it currently stands on film and television sets, animals are more protected than their human counterparts. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge animal lover, but why do we treat animals more humanely than humans?
Historically, animals have been used in filmmaking since the early 1900s, and unfortunately, they were not always treated humanely and were often mistreated by their trainers or put in dangerous situations. An iconic example of this is a scene in the film Western (1939) with Jesse James, where a horse died by being ridden off a cliff intentionally to film the scene. Due to public outcry and the tireless work of animal humane workers, this is no longer a reality. The “no animals were harmed” credit began appearing in film credits in the early 1980s, shortly after the American Humane Association (AHA) earned an endorsement from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The AHA, which works to prevent animal cruelty on movie and TV sets, has monitored the treatment of animals in film and television for more than 75 years. With its specific credit, the AHA has been crucial in calling attention to animal welfare in film and television and raising awareness of the issue among audiences worldwide. Film productions that have animals on set must register with the Animal Humane Society and must have a Certified Animal Safety Rep (CASR) on set.
These days, if you’re an animal actor, your CASR is there to look after you and give you food and water throughout the day, and ensure you are not put into dangerous situations. Unfortunately, humans working in entertainment do not receive the same luxuries. Those working on the set are often expected to put in long hours. Meal breaks are often not given on time or at all. Furthermore, entertainment workers face financial insecurity and are highly vulnerable to mental health and substance use challenges because of their work environments. Currently, The U.S. Department of Labor has yet to have a specific set of laws to protect and ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of individuals working in entertainment.
What if, one day, alongside the “no harm” seal from AHA, we also see a seal of approval for wellbeing standards? One that states “the health, safety, and wellbeing of the cast and crew were not harmed in making this film.”
(2022, September 19). Humane Hollywood. https://humanehollywood.org/