Hollywood writers and actors are on strike for better wages. But if animals in the entertainment industry could strike, it would be for freedom.
Monkeys, wolves, big cats, horses, snakes, dogs, cats, and all other animals are not “actors”—nor do they want to be part of a business that’s unnatural and chaotic for them. These sensitive, complex individuals have physical and psychological needs that can never be met on the set of a film or TV show or in “training” compounds.
Horses, for example, are extremely vulnerable to the stresses of film and TV productions because they’re prey animals who are easily frightened. They’re also the species for whom PETA receives the most whistleblower complaints concerning safety and well-being on set.
Primates are typically taken away from their mothers when they’re just babies. The traumatized youngsters often develop neurotic behavior patterns, such as cage-biting and self-harm. They can also suffer from debilitating loneliness and depression. Dogs forced to perform in movies and TV shows fare no better, as they’re often kept in kennels and cages at supplier compounds off set, waiting for the next time they’ll be used as a prop—a life very different from the one they dream of.
PETA’s investigations have revealed that trainers often use physical punishment, food deprivation, and psychological abuse behind the scenes to coerce animals into performing. Their natural needs and instincts are completely thwarted. When not on set, animals used for film and TV have been found living in filthy enclosures and are sometimes denied adequate veterinary care. When they’re no longer useful or profitable to the industry, they’re often discarded and left to languish in cages at seedy roadside zoos or other substandard facilities.
As productions like Cocaine Bear, The Jungle Book, Joe vs. Carole, and The Lion King have proved, there’s no need to exploit sentient beings to create deeply moving and stunningly realistic depictions of animals on screen. State-of-the-art special effects and computer-generated imagery provide work for human artists who desperately want it, a magical experience for viewers, and freedom for animals—who simply want to be left alone.
Please encourage your favorite movie studios and TV networks not to use live animals. And if you witness animal abuse or neglect during the production of a film or TV show or at an animal training facility, please report it. See something? Say something.