AHA Taken to the Woodshed: ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Controversy Continues

The American Humane Association (AHA) of the ‘No Animals were Harmed’ disclaimer that runs on the credits of U.S. films that portray animals in the story-line, is once again being taken to the woodshed over animals who were, in fact, harmed–and even killed–on their watch.  In addition to our own pieces over the years, the recent controversy surrounding trauma to a dog named Hercules used in the film ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ has brought forth public criticism of the AHA from the film’s producer and now from PETA


AHA’s bread and butter is the use of animals in film and television, and animals are paying with their lives for what many of us believe is an overly cozy relationship with animal trainers. In recent years, 27 animals died on the set of “The Hobbit,” three horses died during the production of HBO’s “Luck,” a giraffe died during the production of “Zookeeper,” a shark died during the production of a Kmart commercial, and a bulldog died during a shoot for a Vicks commercial — and all these productions were supposedly monitored by AHA.

Moviegoers may be surprised to learn that the “No Animals Were Harmed” stamp of approval does not require an on-set AHA monitor — and even more surprised that AHA doesn’t monitor animals off-set, either, including how they are transported to the set, trained beforehand, and kept back at the trainer’s compound.

In the case of A Dog’s Purpose, PETA’s recent video exposé of Hollywood animal supplier Birds & Animals Unlimited (BAU) — the reported animal supplier for the film — revealed that animals were denied veterinary care, forced to sleep outdoors in the cold without bedding for warmth, made to live in filthy conditions, and more. A BAU manager even admitted to PETA’s eyewitness that a kangaroo named Lenny had died — unable to eat and apparently suffering from a broken jaw — and that she had falsified a federal document by stating that he had “gone to Texas.”  –Lisa Lange, senior vice president of communications, PETA

Read the full piece in Variety here.