Animal Rights

American Humane Association
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 alter 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.