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Position Statement on Animals in the Film and Television Industry

The BC SPCA is opposed to the keeping of wild animals for use in the film and television industry.

The use of domesticated animals is acceptable only if:

  • the Five Freedoms are ensured, both on and off the set, for performing animals, breeding animals, and animals that have been retired from performance;
  • humane training methods are used;
  • risk of injury is low;
  • their portrayal is not demeaning toward the individual animal or the species.

Approved by the Board of Directors – April 2008

Definitions

Wild animals: Species that have not been domesticated. Wild animals have evolved in complex ecosystems resulting in mutual interdependencies with other animals and the surrounding environment. Wild animals may be exotic or indigenous, and wild-born or captive-bred.

Exotic animals: Species that are non-domesticated, non-indigenous wild animals, whether captured from the wild or captive-bred.

Domesticated animals: Species that have been selectively bred by humans over hundreds and often thousands of generations, in order to alter their genetics to create animals that are dependent, docile, predictable, and controllable, and that no longer occupy an ecological niche in the wild.

Five Freedoms: A concept first developed in 1965 by The Brambell Committee, formed by the UK government to examine the conditions on commercial farms. Now internationally recognized, the Five Freedoms are considered applicable to all animals.

The BC SPCA’s Five Freedoms (adapted from the original list) are:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst;
  2. Freedom from pain, injury and disease;
  3. Freedom from distress;
  4. Freedom from discomfort;
  5. Freedom to express behaviours that promote well-being.

The BC SPCA’s Five Freedoms form the basis of the Society’s Charter and describe conditions that must be fulfilled in order to prevent the suffering of all animals in human care. The Society acknowledges that these freedoms are not enforceable and that absolute provision of these freedoms may not be possible, but strongly encourages all animal guardians to strive to provide them.