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‘No animals were harmed’ in Super Bowl ads

Dogs, pigeons, Clydesdales, an ostrich, boar, rhino and water buffalo all made appearances in Super Bowl advertisements, and none of them were harmed in the process, according to the association that watches out for them.

The American Humane Association reports that 10 commercials featuring animals appeared during the big game, and that while some of them placed animals in outrageous situations, representatives monitoring the productions ensured that none was in danger. In every ad the association monitored, the advertiser succeeded in earning the “No Animals Were Harmed” designation.

“Thanks to decades of leadership from American Humane, film and television directors, producers and actors rely on American Humane to ensure the safety of animal actors,” Karen Rosa, director of American Humane’s Film & Television Unit in Los Angeles, said in a press release. “It’s especially exciting to see so many advertisers calling on our services as well. It shows that there is recognition of the importance of the human-animal bond and our fundamental responsibility to care for the animals that we interact with every day.”

Rosa noted that most TV networks will not air a commercial featuring an animal without American Humane’s sign-off letter stating that the production did not harm any animals.

American Humane is a 131-year-old organization with exclusive authority behind the “No Animals Were Harmed” end-credit disclaimer. All domestic productions working under the Screen Actors Guild contract are required to inform American Humane when using animal actors. However, enlisting American Humane’s help for oversight during filming is voluntary.


Comment from tsg
Time February 3, 2009 at 10:55 am

While watching films that include animals (horses, cows, cats, dogs, pigs, etc.)… I generally find myself more preoccupied with fear for the animal than enjoying the plot of the movie. IE – the movie called Lake Placid (I think) starring Betty White and the feeding of live cows to an oversized water beast evoked great nervous energy…and western films…the wily shoot outs and fierce range riding scenes on horseback – how I feared for the horses legs. Perhaps now I can honestly enjoy (good or bad) films with animals without my blood pressure rocketing. (PS – Umm, er…Just to be clear, I didn’t really believe that Betty White fed Holsteins to an over sized croc in Adirondacks:)

Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time February 3, 2009 at 12:57 pm

tsg, your uneasiness might have a basis in older practices. My Aged Mum, who is 85, took a dim view of the Westerns of her girlhood because she said that all sorts of inhumane tactics were used on the horses. It’s good to know that animal actors now have a strong organization looking after their welfare.

Comment from Eighteenpaws
Time February 3, 2009 at 6:44 pm

OK, nice to know that the AHA and other institutions are watching over the animals that are put in precarious positions in ads, but really — “No harm?” Does “harm” always have to equate to physical injury? What about the psychological fright that these animals have to endure? A rhino (?) charging through walls….a warthog (?) stuffed into a car seat? As for westerns, horses filmed as “falling down” have terrorized me since I was very young. They are tripped; their 2000+ pounds crumble in the dirt; they feel pain, both physical and mental. Who gets a kick outta this?? And who BUYS anything as a result of such ads or movie trailers? Hmmm, say what you want about PETA, but they have the WHOLE animal in mind when they think protection.