Update: 19th January 2017 – statement from Amblin & ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ producer (below)
Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment is one of the production companies facing a backlash from Animal Rights activists following TMZ’s publication of a video from the set of upcoming family adventure movie ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ in which a trainer seems to abuse a German Shepherd.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are calling for a boycott of the movie that is due for release on January the 29th. The animal rights organisation issued the following statement:
“PETA is calling on dog lovers to boycott the film ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ in order to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props. PETA’s investigation at BAU revealed that animals are denied veterinary care, forced to sleep outdoors in the cold without bedding for warmth, made to live in filthy conditions, and more.”
The animals for the movie were provided by Birds & Animals Unlimited who had already been reported to the US Departure of Agriculture by PETA regarding their violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act and “inhumane” treatment of animals on productions as large as Harry Potter and TV’s Game of Thrones.
A Dog’s Purpose was produced by Amblin Entertainment, Pariah Entertainment Group, Reliance Media and Walden Media and stars Britt Robertson, Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad.
Gad, who voiced Olaf in Disney’s hit animation Frozen, released the following statement on Twitter:
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) 19 January 2017
Birds & Animals Unlimited have claimed that the footage is misleading, though TMZ are reporting that the footage they’ve leaked has been kept in the finished film and can be seen in moments in the film’s trailer.
Amblin Entertainment have since released a statement:
“Amblin production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals. While we continue to review the circumstances shown in the edited footage, Amblin is confident that great care and concern was shown for the German Shepherd Hercules, as well as for all of the other dogs featured throughout the production of the film. There were several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure Hercules was comfortable with all of the stunts. On the day of the shoot, Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot. Hercules is happy and healthy.”
The movie’s producer, Gavin Polone, also stated the following in an interview with Deadline:
“I’m horrified by this. The first thing I asked was, ‘Is the dog OK?’ He’s fine. But if I had seen that, I would have stopped it in a minute. People have to be held responsible for this. It was someone’s job to watch out for this kind of thing. Why didn’t they? This is something I’ve written about before, whether it be circus animals or animals on set. American Humane are supposed to be there supervising. That’s their job that someone is paid a lot of money to do. Why wasn’t this stopped? There needs to be a better system than this. That’s what I’ve called for in the past. I agree with PETA that they not only need to make sure animals are treated properly on set, but they also need to find out where the animals are kept outside of the set. To make sure they are treated properly at all times.”