Guidelines for Hiring Animals in the Audiovisual Industries
Amazing Animals, being the UK’s largest trainers and suppliers of animals to the audiovisual industries, has long been at the forefront of raising standards in animal training and exhibiting. Whenever their services are engaged they aim to provide the highest standards in animal welfare and service to their clients. All clients can be assured that the animals being supplied for the engagement have been carefully selected for this particular booking. The animals will be of a confident temperament and not easily stressed by the activity proposed. Where relevant, the animals will be humanely trained and used to human contact. Furthermore, the animals will be cared for by Amazing Animals staff to the highest standards possible.
However, in order for standards to be met and maintained when the animals are booked on an assignment certain criteria should be observed and understood by all clients. All bookings are undertaken by Amazing Animals based on the understanding that the client has read through, comprehends and agrees to abide by the below guidelines.
As from October 2018 all animals working in the audiovisual industries for commercial purposes must be licensed under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.
When Working on Film Sets
- All actions for animals should be discussed fully before the commencement of the assignment. Amazing Animals will inform the client of their animals’ limitations in relation to the booking.
- Relevant script pages, storyboards and briefs should be sent over well in advance of the shoot. Any necessary NDAs will be signed by Amazing Animals.
- Any props should be sent in advance of the shoot in order for the animal to familiarise themselves and trainers to best assess.
- The client is to understand that trained animals are the best suited for film work. These animals are the least likely to be stressed by an unusual environment. Amazing Animals will only supply animals they believe will not be negatively affected by the assignment.
- The client is to understand that animal welfare is likely to be compromised when booking “pet animals” or amateur animal handlers. Amazing Animals is strongly opposed to the use of non-professional animal handers or trainers.
- An animal should be called as close to their specific call time as possible. Animals are working from the moment they loaded to the moment they are put back into their permanent living homes. Although they might not be performing the action on set when they are waiting around on set they are still working, as they are in an unfamiliar environment.
- Ensure that everything is already in place for a take before the animal is called for their action. Often the best work is done during an animal’s first takes as they have a high interest in performing the behaviour early on.
- Accept the fact that an animal’s attention is limited. Once their work is finished or when a trainer has said that the animal is losing interest, it is time to wrap the animal.
- Where possible crews and sets should be kept down to a minimum when animals are present. This is to safeguard against stressing an animal and reducing distractions when the animal is under instruction.
- Be mindful of the atmosphere an animal is entering into. This is particularly important when the animal is being rehearsed. All doors should be kept shut on set. Movement and noise should be kept down to a minimal.
- When filming outside, everything is generally more difficult for the animal trainer. The animal is susceptible to more distractions and exposed to more hazards. For this reason more than one trainer/handler is usually required.
- Animal Welfare is the priority of Amazing Animals when they are employing the services of their animal charges. Therefore, the company respects the authority and involvement of industry-experienced veterinarians. Amazing Animals advises the booking of a vet, whenever necessary, to help in the safeguarding of animals.