“No Animals Were Harmed”® by American Humane Association
American Humane is an association founded in 1877, which committed to ensuring the safety, welfare, and well-being of animals. It “monitors animals in filmed media and holds the exclusive right to award its “No Animals Were Harmed”® end-credit certification to productions that meet its rigorous standard of care for animal actors.” 70 percent of known animal action in film and television productions are monitored by American Humane Association.
American Humane Association provides Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media. The document includes Basic Principles, General Guidelines, Veterinary Care Guidelines, and Guidelines for Production, Cast, and Crew, as well as the Species-Specific Guidelines. The Guidelines “prescribe a high standard of care that the film and television production industries have voluntarily agreed to provide to animal performers,” and the standard “is more comprehensive and more compassionate than any state’s anti-cruelty laws.” According to the definition, animal refers to “any sentient creature, including birds, fish, reptiles, and insects.” In the end, the Species-Specific Guidelines cover dogs, domestic cats, birds, fish, insects and arachnids, horses (equines) and livestock, exotic/captive wildlife, primates, reptiles, amphibians, and wildlife.
However, currently, there is neither federal law nor states law which directly specifically governs the use of animals in films and TV in the United States. The federal Animal Welfare Act and Endangered Species Act, as well as the anti-cruelty law at the states level, can apply to some of the animals indirectly.
Read more: Overview of Laws Concerning Animals in Film Media
Some news outlets in recent years have pointed to incidents of death and injury to animals associated with films that feature the “No animals were harmed” label. American Humane Association is criticized by PETA that “they do not look after the animals’ living conditions offset or monitor animal treatment during pre-production and training” and “they don’t reveal anything about how the animals were trained or the conditions in which they live.”