Exposed: Major Animal Supplier to Film and TV Businesses

Posted on by Nirali Shah

Birds & Animals Unlimited (BAU) provides animals for use in films, television shows, and advertisements, some of which have included Harry Potter, The Hangover, Marley and Me, Game of Thrones, and Pirates of the Caribbean. An eyewitness who worked at BAU documented chronic neglect, including inadequate veterinary care for sick and injured animals, filthy enclosures, and food deprivation so that animals would be hungry while being trained to do tricks.

This PETA US eyewitness investigation exposes the conditions inside a leading animal supplier to the film and television industries.

As the video reveals, animals at BAU were routinely denied basic care. Dogs, including one staff said was used in the movie Hotel for Dogs, were kept outside and denied bedding, even when temperatures dropped to around 6°C. An owl named Crash, who staff said was used in the Harry Potter movies, was kept in a faeces-strewn enclosure that went uncleaned for at least six weeks, and penguins who staff said were used in Batman Returns were denied fresh drinking water. Their only source of water was a small, inadequate chlorinated pool.

Animals at BAU also suffered without adequate veterinary care. A 12-year-old pig named Miss Piggy, who staff said was used as a piglet in the movie College Road Trip, suffered from persistent bloody sores all over her side. The ranch manager told the eyewitness that she was suffering from melanoma. To the best of the eyewitness’s knowledge, no veterinarian was called in to treat her. And 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 best of the eyewitness’s knowledge, was not seen by a veterinarian.

Secrecy about training techniques appeared to be a priority at BAU. Most sessions took place in a building restricted to trainers. But after apparently receiving a complaint about underweight dogs, a local law enforcement officer arrived to inspect the facility, and the manager panicked when she heard about it, expressing concern that “too much information [was] being given.” She worried that the officer’s report would be seen by the public, because that’s when “PETA gets involved.”

BAU has a lengthy history of failing to provide animals with the minimum requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and has been repeatedly cited by the USDA for failing to provide adequate veterinary care, failing to give animals shelter from the elements, and failing to store food properly. It has also been cited for failing to provide primates with enrichment, failing to meet minimum space requirements, and maintaining filthy and foul-smelling cages. PETA US has submitted a complaint to the USDA alleging several apparent violations of the AWA based on the eyewitness’s evidence.

You Can Help

The living conditions documented at BAU are not unusual for animals used in entertainment.

Please, see the full PETA US investigation, and pledge to avoid contributing to this cruel practice by refraining from buying a ticket to any movie that uses live animals.