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Hollywood: a dog’s life

Animals used in popular Hollywood films are ‘neglected, denied food and veterinary care’

For decades, a veil of secrecy has shrouded the trainers who provide Hollywood with animals for film and television – but a new PETA video offers a never-before-seen look into Gary Gero’s Birds & Animals Unlimited (BAU), which has supplied animals for hundreds of productions, including The Hangover trilogy, the Harry Potter films, Marley & Me, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Game of Thrones and and the CBS series Zoo.

A PETA US eyewitness who worked at BAU documented that animals lived in barren enclosures – some of which were filthy from weeks of accumulated waste – and were denied adequate veterinary care.

Animal welfare violations

PETA US has alerted the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to many of the facility’s apparent violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including the following:

  • Animals were denied food during training. Two cats, who staff said were used in the upcoming film Benji, were denied food for several days because a trainer said that they were ‘fat’, causing them to lose 5 per cent of their bodyweight in five days.
  • Three pigs were severely underweight, including one who staff said appeared in College Road Trip and was denied licensed veterinary care for multiple, often bloody sores on her sides.
  • Dogs, including one who staff said was used in Hotel for Dogs and others who staff said were used in the upcoming film The Solutrean, were left outside overnight without any bedding, even when temperatures dropped to 6°C.
  • BAU told the USDA that a kangaroo had ‘returned’ to Texas, but a manager admitted that the animal had died at the facility after sustaining a broken jaw and being unable to eat.
  • Enclosures housing birds of prey – including an owl who staff said was featured in the Harry Potter films – contained droppings that hadn’t been cleaned up for at least six weeks.
  • By the time the eyewitness left BAU, the facility had apparently not had an attending veterinarian for approximately one month.


Animal shelters ‘deceived’

BAU employees also told PETA US – whose motto reads, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment’ – that they deceived the animal shelters from which they obtained dogs, pretending to adopt the animals rather than revealing that they would be used in productions.

‘Animals used for film and television have been neglected, left hungry and treated like disposable props. PETA’s message to producers is that they have no idea what happens off set – so the only way to ensure that a production is humane is to keep it animal-free.’

PETA director

Click here to see the full PETA USA investigation.

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