The trailer of the movie film A Dog’s Purpose moved viewers, especially animal lovers, to tears. The feel-good movie by Lasse Hallstrom is about a dog’s thoughts on love and mortality as he goes through various incarnations and owners. However, the movie has been dragged into controversy after the American entertainment website TMZ posted a video of a German Shepard named Hercules resisting being forced into fast-moving water on the set.

The TMZ video.

Although the production company has responded that it adhered to “rigorous protocols” for animal safety, TMZ’s video has sparked anger. The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called for the boycott of the film.

Animal actors forced to perform for the camera is just the tip of the iceberg, claims PETA. Birds & Animals Unlimited, one of the leading companies that provides animals to Hollywood films, including A Dog’s Life, routinely denies basic care and shelter to its animals, claims PETA. The organisation has also filed a report against BAU citing chronic neglect and adequate veterinary care.

Remember the owls in Harry Potter? The video below shows that they were kept in filthy enclosures for long hours. The video also has unpleasant footage of animals that have starred in Hollywood films such as Batman Returns and Good Luck Chuck and television shows such as Zoo.

In Hollywood movies, the American Humane Association grants permission to productions that meet its guidelines for the care and handling of animals. It is the AHA that issues the disclaimer, “No animals were harmed in the making of this film”. This however means that if an animal is injured or killed while AHA standards are being followed, the production can still continue with the certification.

Already, several movies prefer computer-generated animals to real ones, as was the case in The Jungle Book and Noah. The argument against using animals created on computer screens is that they look fake and do not move as convincingly as real animals. But The Jungle Book proves that is it possible to create artificial tigers, monkeys, leopards and bears that are as convincing as their real-life counterparts.

The making of The Jungle Book.