A very surprising and sad story surfaced this week about animal abuse in Hollywood films. A story from the Hollywood Reporter revealed that, contrary to public relations portrayals and contrary to statements placed in films about cruelty to animals, there were indeed many animals hurt over the years in numerous films.  The story lays blame on the American Humane Association (AHA) which is an organization founded in 1877 to protect children and animals (not to be confused with the Humane Society of the United States founded in 1954 which strictly focuses on the humane treatment of animals).  

From Wikipedia: 

The American Humane Association (AHA) is an organization founded in 1877 dedicated to the welfare of animals and children. It was previously called the International Humane Association, before changing its name in 1878. In 1940 it became the sole monitoring body for the humane treatment of animals on the sets of Hollywood films and other broadcast productions. AHA is best known for its trademarked certification "No Animals Were Harmed", which appears at the end of film or television credits. It has also run the Red Star Animal Emergency Services since 1916. In 2000 AHA formed the Farm Animal Services program, an animal welfare label system for food products. The Association is currently headquartered in Washington D.C. It is a section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

As a note of explanation, we should always keep the welfare of people highest on our priorities.  And as I have often explained to my children during teaching moments, people always come before animals in priority (Matthew 6:26, Matthew 10:29).  That said, we have an obligation to God to be good stewards of this earth and all in it since it is a gift from God (Genesis 2:15, Psalm 8:6-8, 1 Corinthians 4:2), especially since these poor creatures cannot speak for themselves and may be powerless to man’s inhumanity.  Moreover, since God cares about the animals (not as much as He cares about us, but He still cares greatly about them and does not want them to suffer:  Matthew 6:26, Matthew 10:29, Proverbs 12:10), then we should place a great deal of importance on the humane and kind treatment of animals.  There may be a time and place when it is necessary to use animals for testing or other such things when the result may save human lives and when there is no other option.  But when it is avoidable, when we can accomplish our purpose without bringing harm to or suffering to animals, then we should always avoid it. 

Clearly, the harm that was brought to many of these animals in the story from the Hollywood Reporter was way over the line.  If there is a story that cannot be produced on film without harming an animal, then that story is not important enough to violate an animal in order to produce the scene or the film.  Clearly, this is unnecessary and gratuitous violence.  Furthermore, at such a point, when we think that what we are doing is so important that we are permitted to break all rules in accomplishing it, then we have entered an area of moral compromise and willful sin.  Even in occupations where violence to others is sometimes necessary (military and law enforcement) or in times when law has broken down or law enforcement officers are not available, there are always rules in place to make sure that we only use the exact amount of force to accomplish the purpose and only do so when it is not avoidable and will bring greater harm to ourselves or others if we don’t use that violence (or when we must protect ourselves and loved ones’ lives, persons, or (sometimes) property).  But even in this last case (protecting property from people), we should tread very carefully since we are accountable God for all we do, and God may not be as concerned about our property as we are or as He is about that human life. 

I pray that God will give you wisdom to be a good steward of all things that God has put into your hands, including your animals. 

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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