Help Animals in Movies (HAM)

Help Animals in Movies (HAM) was created in direct response to the movie 'The Grey', when it was learned that director Joe Carnahan made the cast eat wolf. Upon further investigation it was learned that oversight and protection of animal use in movie productions were entirely voluntary, and not mandatory as most people believe.

Most of us believe that animals used in movies are protected, and that no animals may be subjected to injury or harm. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You see the dirty little secret is that animal protection during the filming of a movie is totally voluntary. A production company does not have to have American Humane Association oversight. Additionally, production companies can simply film outside of the United States and they are allowed to circumvent US Animal Cruelty laws.

Our purpose is to enlighten the public to these gaping holes in animal protection, and to help push for enactment of stricter laws protecting the use of animals (domestic and wild) in movies, the elimination of animal carcasses in movies, and the requirement that any film produced outside the United States must conform to all proposed animal cruelty laws in this Country, if the film will be distributed in the United States.

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About HAM Why is this needed?

When the movie The Grey was released and the actors started their publicity tours to promote the film, more and more details emerged about the Canadian production. Some of the details were disturbing, especially about the cast having eaten wolf as a form of method acting. There are also reports that up to 4 wolf carcasses may have been utilized, one barbecued and one made into wolf stew. The other two may have been used as props, but this has not been independently verified.

We then started inquiring into what type of oversight was present during the filming of this movie. We were shocked at what we learned. This website and our legislative efforts are a direct response to inadequate protection for animal use in movies.

Our first effort to confirm the story came from this article published in The Province newspaper in Canada. They interviewed the local trapper used by the director to secure four wolf carcasses.

"Method motivates Liam Neeson, 'The Grey' cast to dine on wolf meat" By Glen Schaefer, The Province January 19, 2012

"The movie, which opens next Friday, kept the town buzzing with its needs for gear, transportation, hotels, food and supplies. But the most oddball request was to longtime local trapper Dick McDiarmid for four wolf carcasses. Two were for use as props in the movie and the other two — well, let McDiarmid tell it."

“They wanted a couple more that they were going to try and eat them,” says McDiarmid over the phone from his home in rural Quick, about 40 kilometres from Smithers. “I guess they got to talking; I wonder what it tastes like?”

Read more: http://preciousjules1985.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/method-motivates-liam-neeson-the-grey-cast-to-dine-on-wolf-meat/

Dear Patrick,

Thanks for contacting us about the film “The Grey” and its inaccurate and brutal portrayal of wolves. It is actually the American Humane Association (AHA) that monitors animal treatment on film sets, not The HSUS. To contact them directly to see if they had a representative sign off on the film, here is their contact info:

American Humane Association
www.americanhumane.org
Film & Television Office
11530 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
818-501-0123

The HSUS does not condone the use of wild animals in film or TV. You may find a recent blog post from our President & CEO of interest, as he comes out against the inaccuracies in the film and calls on people to not support ticket sales:

http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2012/01/wolves-grey-movie.html

Thanks for bringing the wolves’ treatment to our attention, and we’ll be looking into it as well.

Best,

Colin McCormack
Program Coordinator- Animal Content in Entertainment
The Humane Society of the United States
www.humanesociety.org
820 Moraga Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049
t 310/440-0600     f 310/440-9106

Dear American Humane Association,

I am writing at the suggestion of the Animal Content in Entertainment division of HSUS, who mentioned that it is in fact AHA's Film & Television group that monitors animal treatment on film sets.

My concern is the movie 'The Grey' is reported to have used 4 wolves as props, and for 'getting into the mood' for the filming of this movie by eating two wolves. One of which was purported to be pregnant at the time of its capture. Besides the two wolves that were eaten, there are reports that one wolf was chased off a cliff for a scene in the movie, and a fourth wolf's head was used as a prop in the movie.

How may I find out what presence or involvement you had with this movie, what precautions were taken to protect animals, confirmation that wild wolves were (or were not) used during filming, and whether any of these four wolves were killed.

With respect,

Patrick Doyle

Dear Mr. Doyle,

American Humane Association monitored the live animal action during the filming of The Grey. Our Certified Animal Safety Representative™ on the set of the movie ensured the humane treatment of all of the animals used in this film. The movie does not however carry the American Humane Association “No Animals Were Harmed”® end-credit certification. Our process in awarding the end-credit includes a screening of the locked motion picture, which we were not given. Productions must be screened to determine cohesiveness with all of our on-set documentation.

American Humane Association Film & TV Unit has strict guidelines that must be followed by all productions in order to earn the “No Animals Were Harmed”® certification. These guidelines include the necessity for any production to provide accurate, legal receipts for any taxidermy animal props used. At no time did American Humane Association witness the use of taxidermy wolves or wolf carcasses during filming, nor did we receive any such receipts for this type of prop. We can verify that extensive sophisticated animatronics were used consistently during the filming of The Grey.

Online allegations regarding the consumption of wolf meat by cast members of The Grey, have not been verified and sources within the production and distribution entities have not returned our phone calls of inquiry. American Humane Association does not permit the trapping and/or killing of any animals for use in filmed entertainment.

Sincerely,
Jone Bouman

Jone Bouman - Communications
American Humane Association's Film & TV Unit
11530 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604

Dear Colin,

What I am so against is Neeson bragging about going back for seconds, as if what he did was acceptable. I am also against the director Joe Carnahan making a mockery of the American Humane Association's "No Animals Were Harmed" certification program. The AHA had certified reps on the set but he snubbed AHA twice. Once by failing to complete the certification program and for failing to return their phone calls about published reports about eating two wolves, which is "forbidden" by the AHA (and possibly US law).

Do you have any advice on how or if the further distribution of this film may be enjoined due to possible failure to comply with US animal cruelty use, even if that use were carcasses? Is it against US law to not have certification or to use wild animal carcasses?

Thanks Colin!

With respect,
Patrick Doyle

Hi Patrick,

I consulted with our Legal Team in Wildlife Protection about some of the questions you had. His answer below in blue.

Re: “Is it against US law to not have certification or to use wild animal carcasses?”

U.S. law would not apply to the use of the carcasses or the eating of the two wolves, if either of those allegations are true. The film was made in British Columbia, Canada, and the reports about the wolves used/eaten in the film indicate that those wolves came from a “local trapper” in British Columbia. In some cases U.S. law prohibits international trade, import and/or export of wildlife and wildlife parts, but U.S. law cannot tell people what to do with Canadian wildlife in Canada.

In regards to the AHA stamp of approval or Joe Carnahan disregarding their certification process, it is not required by law that the AHA monitors a film set- that is voluntary by the filmmakers. Some production companies and studios require AHA’s stamp, but it’s more of an industry standard as opposed to a legal obligation. That’s how the film was still able to be released, but without the “No Animals Were Harmed...” credit at the end.

Hope this answers some of your questions. Thanks again for reaching out to us.

-Colin

Colin McCormack
Program Coordinator- Animal Content in Entertainment
The Humane Society of the United States
820 Moraga Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049
t 310/440-0600     f 310/440-9106

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Petition Issues What we are asking of our Legislators

What we will ask our legislators to change ::

  • We the undersigned believe animals should be better protected when used in movie productions in the United States.

  • We thought there were laws protecting animals in movies, and as there are not, we ask for humane laws regarding the use of animals in the filming of any movie distributed in the United States.

  • We ask that the use of wild animals in movies be prohibited, as they are not trainable unless subjected to what amounts to torture, and their use constitutes animal cruelty.

  • We ask that the use of animal carcasses be prohibited from use in movies as props.

  • We ask for certification to be required by law, of any film that uses animals, that no animals were injured or harmed during the filming of that movie.

  • We ask that any film distributed in the United States, regardless of where that film was produced, abide by the requested animal protection legislation.

  • We ask that injury to animals used in the making of a film, or the use of animal carcasses in a film, be classified as a felony animal cruelty act, instead of the current misdemeanor.



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