8 min read

Films Where Animals May Have Indeed Been Harmed

These movies might have the line "No Animals Were Harmed" tucked away in their credits, but it turns out that may not have been the case.

1. 'Life of Pi'

(Flickr/PreciousBytes)

The critically acclaimed 2012 film "Life of Pi" tells the story of a boy lost at sea with a tiger, so a large portion of it was shot on the water. While the bulk of it was CGI, plenty of scenes involved a real tiger named King, whose scenes were shot in a tank. The Hollywood Reporter which compiled a report of alleged abuses on film sets, claimed that during one scene, King nearly drowned and had to be dragged to safety with a catch rope. Gina Johnson, a representative for the American Humane Association, was said to have stated in an e-mail, "I have downplayed the f--- out of it." Johnson left the AHA a day after the the e-mail came to light.

2. 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'

(Flickr/miss_rogue)

The recent "Hobbit" movies were criticized after 27 animals reportedly died during the making of the first film, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." The wranglers on-set released a statement blasting the living conditions of the animals, claiming scores of sheep, chickens, horses and more were allegedly living on a farm near dangerous bluffs and cliffs. The AHA released a statement claiming that the animals were not under their jurisdiction, but called the deaths of the animals, which reportedly took place on a working farm, "needless and unacceptable." The 2012 film's director, Peter Jackson, along with producers issued their own statement denying any intentional mistreatment of the animals.

3. 'Flicka'

(Flickr/Jsome1)

During the filming of the 2006 family film "Flicka," two horses were confirmed to have died on-set. The first, according to the AHA, was filming a scene when it suffered a compound fracture in its right tibia. The veterinarian on-set recommended euthanasia as the humane thing to do. The second was also filming a scene when it tripped on its lead rope and broke its neck. The AHA addressed the deaths on their website and described the incidents as "unpreventable accidents" which caused "Flicka" to receive the disclaimer "American Humane Association monitored the animal action."

4. 'Eight Below'

(Flickr/Pierre-Selim)

The 2006 release "Eight Below" was meant to be a feel-good movie about a man struggling to save his dogs in the midst of an Arctic storm. But The Hollywood Reporter claimed that one of the dogs was allegedly punched in the diaphragm by a trainer because he couldn't get him to listen during a scene. They also leaked what they claim are internal records describing the abuse in detail. The film still holds the "No Animals Were Harmed" credit, and Karen Rosa, senior advisor of the AHA, said in a statement that the trainer was "responding to what could have been a very critical situation in the moment."

5. 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl'

(Flickr/Waldo Jaquith)

Anyone who's seen the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise knows that it relies heavily on action scenes and explosions. During the filming of franchise's 2003 debut, PETA claimed that the pyrotechnic explosions set off in the ocean "resulted in the deaths of 46 fish and 51 squid." The AHA gave the film an "Acceptable" rating and no mention of the deaths are found in its review of the movie.

6. 'Apocalypse Now'

(Flickr/Chris Makarsky)

The water buffalo slaughtering in Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 Best Picture contender, "Apocalypse Now" is arguably one of the more infamously brutal scenes in recent history - and while cameras were rolling, that ritual sacrifice was really happening. The filmmakers hired an indigenous tribe to play the characters in the film, and the tribe in question had already decided to sacrifice the buffalo for another purpose. The filmmakers decided to go ahead and film the slaughter; Coppola's wife claims that the film is one of the few in Hollywood to not receive any credit indicating the treatment of the animals. (The AHA deemed the film "unacceptable.")

7. 'Zookeeper'

(Flickr/sharmzpad)

During the filming of the comedy 'Zookeeper,' 18-year-old giraffe Tweet died after allegedly eating pieces of blue tarp that covered his cage. He was being held in a 20-by-20 foot stall and collapsed in his pen, causing PETA to come down hard on the filmmakers and stage protests at the film's premiere. Director Frank Coraci told 'Entertainment Weekly' that Tweet passed away two days after his all of his scenes had been filmed, and that he was treated with "love and respect."