Guidelines for the Protection of All Animals in Film


Guidelines for the Protection of All Animals in Film

  1. No animal* will be Killed or injured for the sake of a film production.
  2. If an animal must be treated inhumanely to perform, then that animal should not be used
  3. If an animal is used off camera to attract the attention of an animal being filmed, used as background, the same humane guidelines must apply to that animal.
    1. An animal should not be allowed to become overheated or suffer discomfort. The production company must supply adequate water, shade, protection from the cold, rain, and other elements both on and off camera.
    2. Costuming and/or props shall be made available in sufficient time prior to production for American Humane to inspect. Costuming and/or props shall be comfortable with ease of movement and breathing
    3. Adequate exercise and rest shall be provided during the shooting day.
    4. Fires must be controlled and animals must be preconditioned to avoid frightening or injuring them. When open fires are used, the animals’ coats and tails should be protected with fire proofing solutions or water (with particular attention being paid to sheep).
    5. At the trainers’ discretion all non-essential personnel with the exception of the American Humane Association may be removed from the set during animal stunts, action or whenever wild or exotic animals are performing.
    6. cast and crew shall not be allowed to pet, fondle or play with animals off camera if the trainer or handler believes it is not in the best interest of the animal.
    7. For horse falls only trained horses may be used.
    8. Stunts and potentially dangerous animal action in a script shall be discussed with American Humane prior to filming.
    9. American Humane shall be allowed to review training on and off the compounds.
    10. All fight scenes shall be simulated. No real animal fight can be disguised as a simulated fight; by the use of muzzles.
    11. All hunting and fishing scenes shall be simulated.
    12. An excessive number of takes shall be denied unless the animal is removed and rested.
    13. Quarter loads of ammunition shall be used around horses or other working animals. Cotton should be supplied for the horses’ ears when they are in close proximity to shooting, explosives or other loud noises.
    14. Only a minimal amount of powder should be used in explosives. Explosives may never be used so close to equines or other animals that it could put them in danger of being frightened or injured. The level of explosives should be determined in consultation with the trainer/wrangler, AMA and an explosives expert.
    15. Squibs should never be so close to animals so as to frighten them.
    16. The Napoline bomb is banned on sets where animals are present.
    17. On or before arrival at a location site a veterinarian or veterinarians, knowledgeable in the animals to be used, must be located to insure availability in case of an emergency.
    18. It is required to have a licensed veterinarian, who is knowledgeable in the animal being used, on a set when there are stunts that could be potentially harmful to the animal.
    19. If an animal is injured, sick or becomes incapacitated it shall not be used, and such animal shall not resume work until it has been determined that the condition has been corrected. A veterinarian shall assess the extent of the injury and send a copy of his or her report to the American Humane Association.
    20. Tranquilization and sedation on set and/or for the sole purpose of film making is prohibited.
    21. Tripping devices, wires or pitfalls are banned from use on all animals
    22. Equines should be shod according to the type of horse and the terrain on which they will be working. Horses working on cement or asphalt should wear barium shoes. If necessary, skid and hock boots should be used in downhill slides or rodeo-slide stops.
    23. For chase and/or running scenes a sufficient supply of back-up animals shall be provided and used.
    24. American Humane/trainer/wrangler shall inspect working areas for holes, tree roots, stones, and other debris that could trip or harm any animal. Stream bottoms must be cleared before being traversed by livestock. Low hanging branches must be removed before riding or chase scenes.
    25. An adequate number of pick-up riders shall be provided during stampedes, charges, runaway and wagon crashes.
    26. Top rails used for horse jumps shall be breakaway or scored balsa wood.
    27. When animals are working on a studio stage, non-skid mats should be placed in the area of action where appropriate. When appropriate, non-skid boots on livestock should also be used. safe footing shall also be provided to and from the set.
    28. Boot spurs shall not be used on animals unless deemed necessary by the trainer/wrangler/AHA, and then only by experienced horsemen.
    29. when trained horses fall, the ground should be softened either by spreading four or five yards of sand, or by digging up the ground, making sure that all. rocks and rough clods are removed. The area should not be less than twenty feet square, twelve to eighteen Inches deep and tilled with sand or other similar materials.
    30. Horse jumps or falls into water should not be over 10 feet and only after the horse has been properly trained.
    31. Deep muck, wire and quicksand should be avoided.
    32. Sliding or riding down sandbanks or earth slides should be done only by experienced riders and experienced horses.
    33. Swimming should be limited to experienced animals and strict attention must be given to the animals’ logical limits of endurance. If water is swift, animals should be attached to a cable if it would make it safer for them. If water is wide or deep,, then a safety boat should accompany them.
    34. When scenes employ simulated or real dust storms, blizzards, or rain, particular attention must be given to the animal’s eyes.
    35. Saddle drags should only be done on experienced horses.
    36. For jumps only a jumping horse may be used, and for falls only a trained falling horse.
    37. Chases on or along railroad tracks require send or dirt to smooth the roadbed.
    38. It is not acceptable to brand an animal for the purpose of entertainment.
    39. Jerking or twisting of horses’ mouths shall not be permitted.
    40. All animal rigging and equipment must be in good condition.
    41. Runaway wagons must be inspected to insure the freedom of the horses before the wagon crashes.
    42. Equipment operated in conjunction with working animals must be in a safe operating condition as determined by the trainer and/or wrangler in conjunction with AHA and the property master.
    43. Any colors or dyes used on animals must be toxic-free and approved by the trainer and/or the AHA.
    44. Tie downs shall not be used on animals not properly trained to wear them, or if the animal struggles or resists.
    45. Known pregnant animals shall not be used in action scenes.
    46. Only candy glass shall be used for breakaway.. Tempered glass is not permitted.
    47. Props used in stunts such as spears, barbed wire fences, etc. ..should all be rubber, balsa wood, etc.
    48. Vehicles transporting animals shall be air conditioned, air cooled or properly vented.
    49. When balsa wood is used, particular attention must be given to assure that all nails, splinters, and wires are absent.
    50. When moving large groups of animals, care should be used to prevent stampedes.
    51. Animals should not be used in an area where they can be contaminated.
    52. No animal shall be put under stress or danger when being used to attract the attention of an animal being filmed.
    53. If dead animals are purchased for a scene, a receipt of such purchase should be sent to the AHA office.

These guidelines are intended for all horses and other livestock without regard to their prominence or insignificance to the production.

  1. Sufficient pens must be made available so that horses from different geographical regions can be housed separately.
  2. The manner in which horses and other livestock are housed should take into account the age and the climatic condition of the geographical region from which the animal was obtained.
  3. Horses must be checked daily for injury and/or illness.
  4. Any horse indicating lameness or illness may not be used until the condition has been corrected.
  5. Any livestock or barnyard animal that becomes sick or injured must be treated immediately.
  6. If an injury or illness should occur requiring a veterinarian, a copy of the veterinarian report must be sent to the AHA office.
  7. Sick horses must be isolated from other horses on the set.
  8. Horses in poor condition cannot be used.
  9. Only experienced trainers and wranglers may be allowed to work with animals on a production.
  10. All background extras who are required to ride on a production must first be auditioned by the wrangler boss to determine their riding ability. only riders from the approved wrangler boss list may be hired.
  11. Horses should be fed according to present climatic conditions.
  12. Livestock must be provided with sufficient water.
  13. When livestock become tired they must be rested.
  14. Calves and other livestock which are still nursing cannot be shipped without their mother.
  15. When very large numbers of livestock are used, a veterinarian should be on the set.


  1. Nothing can be done to an insect that will cause permanent harm, or permanently altar it’s physical characteristics or behavior.
  2. When using insects, a handler knowledgeable of that particular insect or insects should be on set.


  1. When using snakes and other animals in the same scene, the safety of both animals is paramount. Each must be accustomed to being around the other.
  2. When venomous snakes are used with other animals or actors, safety precautions must be used for the welfare of all concerned.
  3. Suturing the mouths of venomous snakes should not be done if the scene can be accomplished with barrier glass, animatronics, fake animals or the use of professional snake wranglers as stunt people.
  4. In the event that suturing of venomous snakes is necessary, it must be done only by experienced snake handlers accustomed to the procedure and approved by AHA.
  5. Suturing can only be done after topical application of a local anesthetic to the affected area.
  6. When sutures are removed, antibiotics must be applied to the affected area.
  7. Under no circumstances can the fangs of snakes be pulled.


  1. Nothing can be done that will harm any fish or other aquatic animal.
  2. When using fish, a handler knowledgeable in the type of fish being used should be on set.
  3. When fish or other aquatic animals are purchased live for a scene, they must be returned to their place of acquisition and receipts showing both the purchase and the return must be sent to the American Humane Office,
  4. Fish and other aquatic animals must be maintained in containers suitable for their specie with proper aeration and temperature control maintained at all times.
  5. Fishing scenes must be simulated with dead fish, animatronics, or methods other than using live fish. No live fish may be used.
  6. Should a scene call for a fish to be out of water, consideration must be given to the species that are most tolerant. i.e. Catfish, Carp, etc. A fish may not be out of water longer that 30 seconds without prior approval from AKA. Fish must be rotated so that no fish is used more than one time in a row and no fish can be used more than three times in one day.


  1. No bird can be released after dark unless it is trained to stay in a lighted area.
  2. No bird can be released indoors unless it is trained or retrievable.


  1. Housing facilities during travel and on location must always take. the comfort of the animal into consideration.
  2. Production must consult with the trainer after traveling to determine when the animal is rested enough to work.

*Animal means all sentient creatures including birds, fish, reptiles and insects.




The entertainment industry is defined in state regulations as “any organization, or individual, using the services of any minor in: motion pictures of any type (film, videotape, etc.), using any format (theatrical, film, commercial documentary, television program, etc.), by any medium (theater, television, videocassette, etc.); photography; recording; modeling; theatrical productions; publicity; rodeos; circuses; musical performances; and any other performances where minors perform to entertain the public.” [8 CCR 11751]

Permits to Work and Permits to Employ

Minors aged 15 days to 18 years employed in the entertainment industry (as defined above) must have a permit to work and employers must have a permit to employ issued by the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE, also referred to as the Labor Commissioner). [LC 1308.5; 8 CCR 11751(b), 11752, 11753, 11754] These permits are also required for minors making phonographic recordings or who are employed as advertising or photographic models. [LC 1308.5(a)(6) and (7)] Permits are required even when the entertainment is noncommercial in nature, CLC 1308.5(a)(5)

Permits will not be issued if the environment is improper for the minor, the employment conditions are detrimental to the minor’s health, or if the minor’s education is hampered. [LC 1308.6] The Labor Commissioner may require school officials to investigate these employment conditions. (LC 1308.6]

DLSE issues two types of work permits, individual permits and blanket permits. Individual permits are issued for six months to the minor specifically named in the application and must be renewed in the same manner and under the same conditions as the original permit. [8 CCR 11753(b) Although school officials may not issue work permits for employment in the entertainment industry, written verification from the minor’s school district demonstrating a satisfactory academic and attendance record must accompany the application for an individual permit. The Division may also require a physical examination to ensure that the minor is physically able to perform the duties required. [8 CCR 11753]

Blanket permits are issued for groups of minors hired for special events or particular productions lasting a limited time. [8 CCR 11754] Employers obtain these permits after demonstrating proof of workers’ compensation coverage and that a parent or guardian will accompany each group of 20 minors or fraction thereof [8 CCR 11754] The Division requires that school verification and parental consent forms for each minor accompany the application. Minors are not individually named on the permit, but a list of minors’ names submitted by the employer is attached. Appropriate numbers of studio teachers must be supplied. [8 CCR 11754] Special arrangements must be made for groups of 100 minors or more, [8 CCR 11754] These permits expire at the end of the special event for which they are issued.

Employers in the entertainment industry must possess a Permit to Employ issued by the Division when employing minors under either an individual or blanket permit. [8 CCR 11751(b)] Application forms for these permits may be obtained from any office of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Employers must demonstrate proof of workers’ compensation coverage. The permit is issued for an indefinite period, but Division policy requires that any interruption of workers’ compensation requires a new application. Permits to employ may be denied, revoked, or suspended for any violation of law or regulation or any discrimination against a studio teacher for performing duties authorized and required by law and regulation for the protection of their minor charges. [8 CCR 11758, 11758.1]

Exception: Minors of any age nay appear in the following venues without permits [LC 1310]:

  • In any church, public or religious school, or community entertainment
  • In any school entertainment or in any entertainment for charity or for children, for which no admission fee is charged;
  • In any radio or television broadcasting exhibition, where the minor receives no compensation directly or indirectly therefor, and where the engagement of the minor is limited to a single appearance lasting not more than one hour, and where no admission fee is charged for the radio broadcasting or television exhibition;
  • At any one event during a calendar year, occurring on a day on which school attendance is not required or on the day preceding such a day, lasting four hours or less, where a parent or guardian of the minor is present, for which the minor does not directly or indirectly receive any compensation.
  • High school graduates also do not require permits. [8 CCR 11750]

Hours of Work and Concurrent Requirements

Minors in the entertainment industry may not work more eight hours in a day [LC 1308.7, 1392] or more than 48 hours in a week. [LC 1308.7] They may only work between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10p.m. (to 12:30a.m. on days preceding a nonschoolday). [LC 1308.7] “Schoolday” means any day that a minor is required to attend school for 240 minutes or more. [LC 1308.7] Exception: Upon the Labor Commissioner’s approval following a written request {submitted 48 hours in advance), a minor aged eight to 18 may continue his or her part past 10 p.m. up to 12 midnight preceding a schoolday in a “presentation, play, or drama” which begins before 10p.m. [LC 1308+5(a)(4)] This exception may never be construed to allow the minor to be at the place of employment more than the maximum number of hours permitted in law or regulation. In addition, state regulation establishes minimum workhour standards for individual age groups as described below.

Infants aged 15 days to 6 months may be at the place of employment for one period of two consecutive hours, which must occur between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., or between 2:30p.m. and 4:30p.m. [3 CCR 11764] Their actual work activity may not exceed 20 minutes. [8 CCR 11760] They may not be exposed to light exceeding 100 foot candles for more than 30 seconds at a time. A studio teacher and a nurse must be present for each three or fewer infants aged 15 days to six weeks, A studio teacher and a nurse must be present for each 10 or fewer infants aged six weeks to six months. [3 CCR 11755.2, 11760] A parent or guardian must always be present. [8 CCR 11757]

Minors aged six months to two years may be at the place of employment for up to four hours, and may engage in work activity for up to two hours. The remaining time must be reserved for the minor’s rest and recreation. [8 CCR 11760]

Minors aged two years to six years may be at the place of employment for up to six hours, and may engage in work activity for up to three hours. The remaining time must be reserved for the minor’s rest and recreation. [8 CCR 11760]

Minors aged six years to nine years when school is in session may be at the place of employment for up to eight hours, the sum of four hours work activity, three hours of schooling, and one hour of rest and recreation. When school is not in session, these minors may have a maximum workday of seven hours, the sum of six hours work activity and one hour of rest and recreation. [8 CCR 11760]

Minors aged nine years to 16 years when school is in session may be at the place of employment for up to nine hours, the sum of five hours work, three hours schooling, and one hour of rest and recreation, When school is not in session, minors may have a maximum workday of eight hours, the sum of seven hours work activity and one hour of rest and recreation. [8 CCR 11760]

All minors aged six months to 16 years must be provided with one studio teacher for each group of 10 or fewer minors when school is in session, and for each group of 20 or fewer minors on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or during school vacations, [8 CCR 1 E755.1] In addition to the studio teacher, a parent or guardian must always be present. [8 CCR 11757] Exception: Minors under 16 do not require the presence of a studio teacher for up to one hour for wardrobe, make-up, hairdressing, promotional publicity, personal appearances, or audio recording if these activities are not on the set, if school is not in session, and if the parent or guardian is present. [8 CCR 11762]

Minors aged 16 years to 18 years when school is in session may be at the place of employment for up to 10 hours, the sum of six hours work, three hours schooling, and one hour of rest and recreation. When school is not in session, minors may have a maximum workday of eight hours, the sum of seven hours work activity and one hour of rest and recreation, [8 CCR 11760]* Studio teachers need only be present for the minors’ schooling, if schooling is still required. [8 CCR 11760] A parent or guardian need not be present.

The time minors may be permitted at the place of employment may be extended by no more than one-half hour for a duty-free meal period. [8 CCR 11761] Minors must be tutored between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. No exceptions, [EC 48224]

Travel time between the studio. and a location counts as work time, Up to 45 minutes travel from on-location, overnight lodging to a worksite is not work time. Travel between school and studio is not work time. [8 CCR 11759]

All time spent in make-up or hairdressing in the minor’s home, with the assistance of studio personnel, is considered work time. No make-up person or hairdresser may work on minors in the minor’s home before 8:30 a.m., Twelve hours must elapse between the time the minor is dismissed on one day and the time make-up or hairdressing begins on the following day. [8 CCR 11763]

Twelve hours must elapse between the minors time of dismissal and call time on the following day. If the minor’s regular school starts less than 12 hours after his or her dismissal time, the minor must be schooled the following day at the employer’s place of business. [8 CCR 11760(i)]

Minors who attend regular school may not work in the entertainment industry for the same number of hours as minors tutored by studio teachers. Minors tutored by studio teachers need only be instructed for three hours a day [EC 43224; 8 CCR 11760] while minors in regular school are generally required to attend school for a much longer time. Clearly, minors who attend regular school cannot assume the same workhour burden as tutored minors. Consequently, the Division adopted an enforcement policy for minors who attend regular school. This policy establishes the length of the workday for minors who attend regular school by subtracting six hours from the maximum number of hours that tutored minors are permitted on set when school is in session. For example, tutored minors nine to 16 years of age are permitted to be on set for up to nine hours, therefore minors who attended regular school on a workday would be permitted to be on set for up to three hours, Such workdays for minors attending regular school do not require a one-hour rest and recreation period, but they may be extended one-half hour by a meal period. Finally, the Division’s policy always assumes that the minor who attends regular school always attends for at least six hours, Thus, in an effort to safeguard the minor’s educational interests, an artificially shortened regular schoolday is never allowed to result in an employer benefit of extended work hours.

Nothing in DLSE’s policy for minors who attend regular school may be construed to allow those minors to work during regular school hours. DLSE’s policy is specifically designed to dissuade any interruption of a minor’s regular school attendance requirements, There is only one exception. A minor 14 years of age or older who attends regular school may work up to eight hours during regular school hours for each of two consecutive days upon the written permission of the minor’s school. [8 CCR 11760(h)]

No law exempts minors employed in the entertainment industry from any of the prohibited occupations listed in Chapters 7 and 8 of this digest, except those entertainment activities cited in Labor Code § 1308.

Neither studio teachers nor the Labor Commissioner are empowered to waive – at any time or under any circumstances — any minimum labor standard established in law or regulation. Exception: The special exemption (described on page 39) allowing minors aged 8 – 18 to work past 10 p.m. up to 12 midnight on a schoolnight


Actors of either gender are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements of the California Industrial Welfare Commission. [IWC Orders 11 & 12 Section 1(B)) Although actors and performers are expressly exempt from the child labor provisions of the FLSA, they are not exempt from its minimum wage and overtime requirements. [29 USC 213(c)(3); 29 CFR 570.125] Thus, minors employed in the entertainment industry in firms subject to the FLSA must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime after 40 hours in a week despite the IWC exemption.

Out-of-State Locations

California employers who employ resident minors and outside of the state under contractual arrangements made in the state must comply with all California regulations, including the use of studio teachers, [8 CCR 11756]

Studio Teachers

Studio teachers tutor minors whose employment responsibilities in this special industry do not allow them to attend full-time regular school. Studio teachers are also responsible for the health, safely and morals of minors under 16 years of age while the minors are engaged or employed in the entertainment industry. The studio teacher may refuse to allow the use of a minor under 16 on a set or location and may remove the minor from the set or location if in his or her judgment conditions present a danger to the health, safety or morals of the minor, [8 CCR 11755.2] Employers risk the loss of their Permit to Employ if they disregard the judgment of the studio teacher. [8 CCR 11758.1, 11753.2] Employers may appeal a studio teacher’s judgment to an Assistant Chief of the Division, [8 CCR 11755.2]

Studio teachers must have both a California Elementary and Secondary teaching credential (or the approved equivalent which certifies that they are qualified to teach grades K-12 in accordance with California standards) which are valid and current, Studio teachers must also be certified by the Labor Commissioner. [8 CCR 11.755] Certification by the Labor Commissioner follows an examination that tests the applicant’s knowledge of child labor laws and regulations, Certification by the Labor Commissioner is valid for three years. Studio teachers are paid by the minor’s employer; they are not state employees. [8 CCR 11755.3]


*Those familiar with the text of DLSE’s entertainment regulations as they appear in Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations will notice that the description of work and recreation hours when school is not in session appears to differ with the description here and in the summary chart The description differs because the regulations arc somewhat ambiguous when discussing work and recreation time when school is not in session. Regulations are clear that when school is in session, the required rest and recreation is in addition to actual work activities. However, regulations for work hours when school is not in session, state that 16- and 17-year-olds arc allowed to work up to “8 hours,. with one hour of rest and recreation.” The one hour of rest and recreation is considered (compensable) work time regardless of the minor’s actual activity because minors are under the control of the employer. If the recreation time were in addition to eight hours of work activity, the workday would be nine hours long, a violation of Labor Code §§13O8.7 and 1392. Thus. In order to clarify work activity and the total length of the workday, this digest states that when school is not in session, 16 and 17-ycar-olds may perform seven hours of work activity and receive one (continuous and uninterrupted) hour of rest and recreation for a maximum workday of eight hours.