Denver-based American Humane Association takes on moviemakers using unauthorized "No Animals Were Harmed" credits
An image from "District 9" featuring a computer-generated alien, not an animal.
Most Denverites probably don't know that the American Humane Association's national headquarters is located in these parts -- specifically Inverness Drive East in Englewood. And while the AHA also has a film-and-television office in Los Angeles (as well as a public-policy branch in Alexandria, Virginia), folks here are behind an announcement that names the names of current films that feature the AHA's signature "No Animals Were Harmed" end credit even though organization reps say they didn't actually monitor the productions.
Most of the flicks named are far from obscure. They include District 9, an excellent sci-fi effort produced by Peter Jackson, who helmed the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Easy Virtue, a Noel Coward adaptation in which former Boulder resident Jessica Biel's character accidentally sits on a small dog, crushing it beneath her shapely caboose. What a way to go. (To learn more about Easy Virtue, check out our extended Q&A with director Stephan Elliott and his co-writer on the project, Sheridan Jobbins.)
The AHA is clearly defending its turf in this case, using as a weapon the implication that these filmmakers may not have taken as much care with animals on set as they would have under more formal supervision. For the association's version, click "Continue."
American Humane Unmasks New Movies That Are Using Unauthorized 'NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED'® End Credits
American Humane Holds Trademark of the Disclaimer and Is the Exclusive Monitoring and Approval Body for Animals Used in Films
DENVER, Aug. 31, 2009 -- The American public and much of the international community look for the "No Animals Were Harmed"® end-credit disclaimer at the end of theatrical films. It is their assurance that the animal actors used in those productions were not killed or injured in any way, and that their well-being and safety were assured by the trusted, credible and historic American Humane Association.
However, some recent movies are misleading the public and creating a significant breach of trust with audiences by inserting unauthorized "No Animals Were Harmed" end credits that have not been granted by American Humane, and whose productions were not monitored on-set by American Humane and its international cadre of highly trained Certified Animal Safety Representatives™.
"American Humane sets standards of care for animals in entertainment, upholds our Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media, and records objective reports from the set attesting to the treatment of the animals," said Karen Rosa, American Humane's vice president in charge of its Film & TV Unit. "Films that meet these standards are eligible to carry the end credit, and this misuse of American Humane's registered trademark is an affront to those producers who legitimately and conscientiously meet those standards."
American Humane's Film & TV Unit, based in the Los Angeles area, exposed these recent films as using deceptive and unauthorized end credits:
• Adam by Olympus Pictures, Deer Path Productions, Serenade Films, Vox3 Films.
• District 9 by WingNut Films Limited, Key Creatives and LLC/QED Intl.
• Easy Virtue by Ealing Studios, Fragile Films, Endgame Ent., Odyssey Ent.
• How to Lose Friends and Alienate People by Number 9 Films.
• Shrink by Ignite Entertainment, Ignite Productions, Ithaka Entertainment and Trigger Street Productions.
In each instance, American Humane has sent the production entities, studios and/or distributors a cease-and-desist letter demanding that the unauthorized end-credit disclaimers be removed immediately from the theatrical version, the DVD version and any other versions they are releasing. Some studios and producers have indicated they will remove the illegitimate credit, while others are making excuses or taking no action and, thus, are potentially compounding possible infringement of American Humane's protected trademark. This furthers the willful deception of the public as to the veracity of the safety and well-being of the animals used in those films.
"We encourage filmmakers to work with American Humane, and for distributors to verify the legitimacy of the 'No Animals Were Harmed'® credit, before approving and finalizing any film prints for theatrical release or DVD distribution," Rosa noted. "Viewers, too, should always look for the 'No Animals Were Harmed'® end credit, and they can check our website, www.americanhumane.org/film to see what rating we assigned to films, based on their use of animals, and to find out how the animal action was achieved on films that we monitored."
About American Humane
Founded in 1877, the American Humane Association is the only national organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Through a network of child and animal protection agencies and individuals, American Humane develops policies, legislation, curricula and training programs to protect children and animals from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The nonprofit organization, headquartered in Denver, raises awareness about The Link® between violence to people and violence to animals, as well as the benefits derived from the human-animal bond. American Humane's office in Los Angeles is the authority behind the "No Animals Were Harmed"® end-credit disclaimer on film and TV productions, and American Humane's office in Washington, D.C., is an advocate for child and animal protection at the federal and state levels. The American Humane® Certified farm animal program is the nation's original independent certification and labeling program for humanely raised food. American Humane meets the strong, comprehensive standards of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, has been awarded the Independent Charities of America's "Best in America" Seal of Approval, has met the stringent standards for financial efficiency and accountability required by the American Institute of Philanthropy to qualify as a Top-Rated Charity, and has received a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator, America's premier independent charity evaluator. Visit www.americanhumane.org to learn more.