PETA Accuses Hollywood Company of Animal Neglect

PETA Accuses Hollywood Company of Animal Neglect

          PETA has filed a complaint against the company Birds & Animals Unlimited (BAU), alleging that they allow and conduct abusive acts towards animals used in Hollywood movies.1 PETA cites eyewitnesses who documented neglect behind the scenes of many popular films; such instances of neglect include refusing to treat ill and injured animals, housing animals in dirty enclosures, and denying them food for days at a time.2 BAU is operated by animal trainer Gary Gero and has a training facility near Acton, California.2

          The allegations involve a range of many different movies and a large variety of species. While making the movie Hotel for Dogs, dogs were denied bedding and left outside during the night even while temperatures dropped to the low forties. An owl used in the Harry Potter movies was claimed to be kept in a feces-strewn cage and deprived of “sensory stimulation and socialization.”2 For the movie Batman Returns, penguins were denied fresh water and were forced to drink water from a pool containing chlorine.2 Two cats used in the upcoming film Benji were essentially starved for days at a time and lost five percent of their body weight in five days.2 Doves and pigeons were killed by neglect, and PETA claimed that pigs used in various movies faced injury and disease after no veterinarians were called in to treat them.2

          A local law enforcement officer was called to inspect the BAU facilities after receiving a tip about underweight dogs.2 Further investigation supposedly determined that BAU obtains animals from shelters by saying they are adopting them, but then actually using them in movie and television productions.2 BAU staff used this guise because shelter facilities and rescue organizations oppose the use of their animals for entertainment.2

          However, BAU has a different side to the story. In a statement released to the Hollywood Reporter, BAU states that the claims are just fictional exposés and that PETA intentionally tries to cause “shock and awe” for selfish purposes.3 BAU says that its animals are “treated with love and respect, compassion, kindness and all appropriate medical attention.”3 Representatives from BAU stated that their organization is regularly inspected by the USDA, California’s Department of Fish and Game, and the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control and have received top marks for the past twenty years.3

          Within their statement, BAU describes in detail exactly how they treat certain animals and addressed specific allegations. For example, they say (in response to the claim of owl abuse for Harry Potter) that they decide whether the birds should be in cages with sand, dirt, or bare concrete and that the cages are cleaned every day, or every few days for birds of prey.3 Furthermore, BAU says that PETA’s video was “an exaggeration unsupported by any facts or evidence” and that in fact none of the birds in their video were used in the Harry Potter movies anyways.3

          For the moment, BAU is standing its ground and refuting all claims of abuse. PETA retains that BAU has a lengthy history of failing to provide animals with requirements of the Animal Welfare Act.2 PETA has created a pledge in order to ask the producers of CBS’s Zoo not to use live animals and praised the modern use of CGI technology and animatronics to portray animals in films.

 

References:

  1. Pulver, Andrew. "Peta Files Complaint against Leading Hollywood Animal Talent Company." The Guardian. 11 Jan. 2016. Web. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/11/peta-files-complaint-against-hollywood-animal-talent-company-birds-and-animals-limited

  2. "Prominent Hollywood Trainer Fails Animals: A PETA Exposé." Investigations.peta.com. PETA. Web. http://investigations.peta.org/hollywood-trainer-fails-animals/ 

  3. Birds & Animals Unlimited Inc. "Response to PETA “Exposé." Hollywoodreporter.com. The Hollywood Reporter. Web. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/custom/Meena/Birds%20and%20Animals%20Statement%20in%20Response%20to%20PETA%20Allegations.pdf

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