If you’re an animal lover, you may be like me. Whenever I go to a movie that has animals in it (especially if there are lots of action scenes), I worry about what is happening to the animal. What did the animal have to endure for the sake of a movie scene?

Several years ago, I attended a humane conference in Colorado, and one of the programs discussed the use of animals on the movie set.

This really intrigued me, so I attended and met Dick Elder, who works with the American Humane Association on pictures that use animals, in particular livestock. He was on the set of “City Slickers” to make sure the little calf did not drown during the river scene and that the horses were not overridden.

I was very relieved to learn that any movie made in the United States that uses animals of any kind – reptiles and insects included – must have a representative from the AHA on the set.

This person is responsible for the animal’s welfare and ensures that the director doesn’t hurt, kill or injure any animal for the sake of the movie. In fact, movie directors must abide by 59 AHA guidelines, which also apply to commercials.

When the movie “Problem Child” was being filmed in North Texas, or the television series “Walker” is filmed in this area, the directors call upon SPCA of Texas field investigators to be on the set if they are using any animals in the scene.

This job may sound glamorous, but one scene can take days or weeks to shoot, and there are many boring hours spent sitting on location waiting for the segment to be completed.

Regardless, you can rest assured that if you see a horse trip and fall, he is trained to do so and was not hurt in the process.

Or if you’re an insect lover, the spiders used in “Arachnaphobia” received the same special attention as Lassie!


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