Initiative underway to transform animal welfare in film and TV

Initiative underway to transform animal welfare in film and TV

HorsesA new initiative has been launched by Animals in Media (A.i.M) to establish higher standards of welfare for animals in the entertainment industry.

In the UK there is currently no direct regulation of the use of animals in entertainment and exhibition outside of the licensing scheme for trainers and keepers of animals.

A.i.M is a Community Interest Company founded by Jody Gordon and Laura Jackson; Gordon also runs the Animal Welfare Consultancy

The goals of A.i.M are to monitor animal use, eradicate archaic practices, and reward productions and trainers that prioritise and improve welfare standards in the enterainment and exhibition sectors. 

To achieve this, A.i.M has partnered with Human Behaviour Change for Life (HBCL), and are undertaking research, funded by the RSPCA, to explore how they can support and empower professionals working in the media industry, to be leaders in protecting the safety and welfare of animals used in the industry.

To further assist the research, a survey has been developed to gain input from industry professionals in film, TV, advertising and live entertainment, regardless of whether they have experience working with animals. The survey can be accessed here and is open until 2 July 2023. 

It is hoped that the input gained from the research will shape changes, but A.i.M also proposes that one solution might involve introduction of a tiered certification system for productions. This accreditation would differentiate between productions that meet minimum standards and legal requirements, those that go the extra mile to enhance animal welfare, and those that excel in minimising negative impacts and promoting positive mental states for animals.

Certification will likely entail ongoing monitoring, including review of event plans or scripts, on-site visits, and post-production evaluations. The assessment process will cover the animals’ treatment during the production, their origin and post-production fate, as well as reporting on the ethical impact of using animals within the production.

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Gordon said: “A.i.M’s target is to ensure every animal seen on our tv, in our cinemas and used in our theatres and art installations is safe, happy and treated with the respect it deserves. These animals don’t choose to entertain us so we need to treat them with kindness and understanding.”

Emma Slawinski, director of policy and advocacy at the RSPCA, said: “The RSPCA is concerned about the welfare of animals used in exhibition and entertainment such as the production of TV and Film.

“We would welcome positive steps to improve and safeguard the welfare of animals in these settings. An assurance scheme could provide a route for the producers of entertainment using animals to improve welfare and demonstrate their commitment to the animals in their care”.

More details can be found on the following social media pages: Facebook – Animals in Media; Twitter – @AnimalsinMedia; Instagram – You can also email for more information. 


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