Dogs, Cats, Other Animal 'Actors' Suffer for Hollywood

How neglect has sentenced animals at a leading supplier to film, TV shows, and ads to lifetimes of misery



It’s no animal’s dream to be famous in Hollywood, but countless dogs, cats, pigs, primates, and others are forced to perform on cue to make money for the entertainment industry. You may not realize it when they’re on screen, but behind the scenes, animals used in TV shows, movies, and advertisements suffer.  


A PETA eyewitness investigation of Birds & Animals Unlimited (BAU), which has rented out animals to hundreds of productions, including The Hangover, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Pirates of the Caribbean, revealed that animals were denied food because they were “fat,” dogs were left in cold temperatures without bedding, a pig who suffered from bloody sores was denied adequate veterinary care, and the heads of birds were reportedly pulled off in order to kill them.


Take a look inside a leading animal supplier to the film and television industries.


Animals Denied Basic Care

Dogs, including one who staff said was used in the movie Hotel for Dogs, were kept outside and denied bedding, even when temperatures dropped into the low 40s. Those who staff said were used in The Solutrean and CBS’ Zoo were housed alone in kennels on hard concrete floors.
Snoop, a geriatric, ailing dog believed to have been used in the film Marmaduke, was frequently left outside overnight in temperatures below 50 degrees. After testing positive for heartworm and months of refusing to eat, vomiting, losing weight, and bleeding from his paws (apparently from his nails), he lost control of his bowel movements and was finally euthanized.


An owl named Crash, who staff said was used in the Harry Potter movies, was kept in a feces-strewn enclosure that went uncleaned for at least six weeks. 


Penguins who staff said were used in Batman Returns were denied fresh drinking water. Their only source of water was a chlorinated pool.


Dogs, Cats, Other Animal 'Actors' Suffer for Hollywood

Animals were sometimes denied food during training. Gus and Nibbs, two cats who BAU staff said were used in the upcoming film Benji, were virtually starved for several days because a trainer said they were “fat,” and they lost 5 percent of their body weight in five days.

Neglect at BAU

A 12-year-old pig named Miss Piggy, who staff said was used as a piglet in the movie College Road Trip, frequently suffered from bloody sores all over her sides. The ranch manager told the eyewitness that she was suffering from melanoma.

To the eyewitness’ knowledge, no veterinarian was called in to treat her.

Punky, a pig with severely overgrown hooves, went nearly two weeks without corrective trimming after the eyewitness pointed out her condition. The trimmer—a layperson, not a veterinarian—told the ranch manager that Punky had arthritis, but the pig received no pain relief or medication for the condition and, to the eyewitness’ knowledge, was not seen by a veterinarian.



Lewis, a pig staff said was used in live shows, had a severe and likely painful limp for several weeks before finally receiving effective treatment.


Dogs, Cats, Other Animal 'Actors' Suffer for Hollywood


An employee told the eyewitness that fully conscious pigeons’ heads were pulled off as a method of killing them. The employee explained that the heads don’t always come off on the first attempt.




One pigeon was found infested with mites, slumped over, and barely moving. A manager said that she would “pull” the pigeon but two hours later had failed to do so, and the pigeon died.


Dogs, Cats, Other Animal 'Actors' Suffer for Hollywood

A young dove who was unable to walk was denied licensed veterinary care and was found dead nine days after the condition was reported to a manager.


Hiding the Truth Behind the Scenes

BAU keeps its training techniques a secret: Training sessions took place in a building restricted only to trainers. BAU staff evidently obtained some animals from shelters and rescue operations under the guise of adopting them, but they were actually procured for use in productions. The manager admitted that the shelters were usually not aware that the animals would be used for entertainment because, “like PETA,” the facilities oppose such use.

Help Stop This!

The living conditions documented at BAU are what the industry considers normal for animals used in entertainment. This is not normal—and it’s not OK. PETA has submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging several apparent violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act along with complaints to state and local officials based on the eyewitness’s evidence.


Every ticket you purchase to a movie that uses live animals supports this industry. Never go to a movie or support a production that uses live animals.

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