Vegetarianism and the ethical treatment of animals … in Hollywood

The main film industry on the planet – Hollywood – is gradually switching to computers in order to eliminate claims of unethical treatment of animals and simplify their lives.

Hollywood has a long and complex history of cruelty and not very treatment of animals … One of the first unpleasant stories with “our smaller brothers” in the cinema can be considered a stunt scene in the movie “” in 1939 with a superstar of that time, in which a cowboy allegedly jumps into the abyss on horses. The “cowboy” himself was not injured, but in order to film this scene, the horses were blindfolded and … really forced to jump from a high cliff. The horse broke its spine and was shot. It would seem that such savagery is impossible these days, but not everything is so simple…

The creation of the American Association for the Humane Treatment of Animals (AHA) in the 1980s made it possible to add the soothing line “No animals were harmed in the making of this film” to the end and opening credits. But in fact, some observers note that the creation of this organization is sometimes just a front for the inhuman treatment of animals, because. implies a number of serious limitations of liability, even if the animal died on the set! The agreement between the Hollywood bosses and the ANA provided, in fact, that only one representative of this organization had to be present on the set – “for this” the ANA gave the right to put a beautiful line in the credits! And did the lone observer manage to follow the filming process, and what did he do, “present” on the set, and what kind of relationship with animals fit the definition of “human” – this is known only to ANA. It is not difficult to guess what abuses could be – and, at times, were! (see below) – on the conscience of such a small and lonely “auditor”.

These days, animals don’t die on camera like they did in Jesse James – the ANA keeps an eye on that. Beyond that, in fact, nothing more. As the ANA clarified after the death of 27 animals on the set of the movie “The Hobbit” to reporters of the Hollywood press, the beautiful wording “No animals were harmed during the filming of this film”, because. nothing is actually guaranteed. It only means that the animals did not suffer and did not die while the movie camera was filming them! There is another limitation – the animals could die due to the negligence of the film crew, unintentionally – and in this case, too, a beautiful slogan at the end of the film is not removed. Thus, this organization implicitly acknowledged that many Hollywood films, “tested and approved” by the ANA, were filmed with animals dying. However, it is already in the public domain.

So, for example, in 2003, after four days of outdoor filming of the film “” there were a lot of dead fish and octopuses on the shore. Representatives of the ANA simply refused to comment on this event publicly.

On the set of the children’s film about animals “” (2006), two horses died. An attempted private investigation into the incident by attorney Bob Ferber. The horses were also unlucky on the set of the HBO television series “” (2012) – after 4 horses on and off the set (a mysterious story) and subsequent complaints (including from), the second season was canceled.

In 2006, Disney filmed a touching and loved by many family film about dog fidelity “” with superstar Paul Walker. Not everyone knows that one of the dogs on set was brutally kicked. In response to the reaction of human rights activists, the ANA stated that the trainer allegedly separated the fighting dogs in this way, and the titles in the film did not have to be changed.

On the set of the 2011 comedy “” a giraffe died (despite the presence of an ANA representative). And on the set of the film “” (2011), trainers beat … who else? – an elephant (however, the direction of the film denies this). Thus, not all children’s films are equally ethical.

As it turned out, when creating the popular film “” (2012) – they also cruelly treated animals! Including, on pavilion shootings in the pool, a tiger almost drowned. Some people think that the tiger in this film is a completely “digital” product, a computer animation character, but this is not so. In some episodes, a real trained tiger named King was filmed. ANA employee Gina Johnson about the shameful thing with the tiger, when, due to the negligence of the film crew, the tiger almost drowned, he miraculously managed to be saved – but she informed not her superiors, and not the authorities, but her friend in a personal email. “Don’t tell anyone about this, I had a hard time putting this case on the brakes!” wrote the ANA human rights observer at the end of this private letter in capital letters. The letter became the object of public scrutiny after information was leaked from the filming. As a result of further investigation, it turned out that the observer had an affair with a major representative of the leadership of this film – so she turned a blind eye to this case (and, who knows, maybe others). And in the end, even no apologies were made to “children and parents”, and the film’s credits proudly state that “Not a single animal was harmed.” “Life of Pi” brought its creators 609 million dollars and received 4 “Oscars”. Many viewers are still generally convinced that the tiger or even all the animals in the film are XNUMX% computer graphics.

Later, the unethical treatment of animals on the set of Life of Pi received a second wind when a footage of a tiger being brutally beaten by the same trainer who provided his tiger for Life of Pi was leaked onto the Internet. The trainer, who, in response to the ensuing scandal, said that he allegedly beat with a whip not the tiger itself, but the ground in front of him. At the same time, the recording clearly shows how he, clicking the tiger lying on his back with a whip over and over again, and you can hear him, like a real sadist: “I love to beat him in the face. And on the paws … When he puts his paws on a stone, and I hit him – it’s beautiful. Because it hurts even more,” and so on. (The record is now, but it is not recommended to watch it impressionable!).

Not everyone is aware that on the set of another megablockbuster – the first trilogy film “” based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien – in one incident when the film crew was idle: ponies, sheep, goats. Some of them died of dehydration, others drowned in water trenches. The training of the animals took place on a farm in New Zealand not provided with an ANA observer. Moreover, when the main trainer of the film (John Smith) himself tried to investigate the causes of this tragedy, which was unpleasant for him, by contacting the ANA, he was refused, adding that, due to the lack of evidence, he would still not be able to prove anything. Only after Smith reported that he had buried the dead animals with his own hands near that farm, and was ready to personally point out to the police the location of their skeletons, did the ANA change the usual “… no animals were harmed” in the credits of this film to another, streamlined wording – that the scenes with the participation of a large number of animals in this film were filmed under the supervision of their representatives. Even this statement turns out to be false…

Of course, ANA at the very least, but they do their job. So, for example, during the filming of the recent blockbuster “” (2011) with American superstar Matt Damon, according to a number of human rights activists, even bees were treated with the utmost ethical and careful. But then some have questions about the ethics of the very idea of ​​​​this film, in which rich people with imagination … open a zoo?! Was it really impossible to come up with something that was not related to keeping animals in cages for profit? many Western vegans comment. After all, as any adult understands, a zoo is a far from perfect business in terms of the ethical treatment of animals…. In a word – some kind of strange “American dream” among the authors of the film, some conscious viewers note.

Fortunately, films with animals are made … without the participation of animals! On the computer. According to major directors – such as, who solved the problem of shooting fights involving animals in the film “” (2009) using computer graphics. In this film, not only “no animals were harmed”, but even did not take part in the filming … The script was ready back in the mid-1990s, but Cameron was waiting for computer technology to develop to implement large-scale scenes completely made on a computer. As a result, a powerful supercomputer farm with an area of ​​about a kilometer, with 35.000 processors, was used to create the film, a number of clusters of which were included in the 200 most powerful computers in the world at the time of filming. More than 900 people around the world worked on computer animation for the film. Each minute of the film in the source “weighs” more than 17 gigabytes of disk space – this is with the length of the director’s cut of 171 minutes (!). And shooting in general cost about 300 million dollars. But, as you know, “Avatar”, to put it mildly, paid off – becoming the highest grossing film of all time around the world. And this is also a triumph of the ethical treatment of animals!

The recent film “” (2016) again, according to observers, brought computer animation to a new level, when it is possible to achieve either complete realism – or a pretty “cartoon” – no longer due to technical capabilities, but at the will of the director. In The Jungle Book, even a child can see how much progress animation has made in the 7 years since the release of Avatar.

It is clear that wild animals benefit the most from the use of computer graphics = after all, in truth, they belong in nature, and not on the set! But when working with computer graphics, the director is happy, who does not suffer with his slow-witted wards. Sometimes the problem of getting even a domesticated animal to do what is needed according to the script literally drives the director crazy. So, the director of the film “” (2009) Skype Jones shot … a short film about how he tried in vain to make a dog on the set bark on the run! The dog did anything except what the director wanted: ran, but did not bark, or ran – and then barked, or barked, but did not run …. and so on, ad infinitum! A short film about the torment of the director received the existentialist title “The absurd impossibility of making a dog bark on the run” and.

So will the animals be left alone soon, and new jobs will be created for animators? Yes, indeed, many films “about animals” actively use computer graphics, for example, starting with the film “” (2001) by Steven Spielberg, which would not have been possible without computer “understudies”.

And about the relatively new epic blockbuster “” (2014) by the famous director Darren Aronofsky, they joke that in it Noah … did not save a single animal – only computer graphics were “loaded” into the ark. An eccentric director that no, the pair of doves and one raven in the picture were real. In addition, he pointed out to the inattentive public that the film does not show a single real wild animal – which can still be found, for example, in Africa! Indeed, fans of the film confirm that, at the request of Aronovsky, computer specialists slightly “edited” the creatures that Noah saves – creating new types of non-existent animals. Trying to play god? Or a new level of ethical treatment of animals? Who knows.

There is another point: many people notice that with the replacement of animals with cartoon big-eyed “garfields” from films … some special charm is leaving, life is leaving. So it’s a pity that Hollywood is more often just not able to treat animals – as well as people – 100% ethically! Sadness about the gradual departure of live four-legged actors from the cinema was well expressed by Julie Totman: the head trainer of the British company Birds and Animals UK, which worked on the films of the Harry Potter series and the recent blockbuster “” (2015), said that with the replacement of animals with hand-drawn characters “the magic will go out of the films: after all, you can distinguish where the real is and where the fake is.”  

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