The Editor,Eluxe Magazine Dear Sir/Ma’am,Recently I read one of the articles featured in your magazine indited by Arwa Lodhi titled “Animal Abuse in films: Why Hollywoodis no place for animals” and I thoroughly accede with the writers opinion andperspective. Every being has a birthright to subsist and thrive in peace . Wethe humans are not entitled to derive pleasure by inflicting pain to otherspecies! In my opinion the lowliest form of cruelty is one which is done tothose who cannot speak for themselves. “The question is not ‘Can they reason ‘ nor ‘ Can they talk?’ But’Can they suffer ?”- Jeremy Bentham In her article she surfaces the fact that “animals play a keyrole” in films and I am in fullagreement with this harsh reality.
From the Tiger in ‘Life of Pi ‘to the dog in’Marley and Me’ countless animals have contributed to the humungous fame ofHollywood productions. According to my research animal imagery has exquisite and principled influence on the bigscreen. Animal imagery represents the relationship between animals and humansthrough an artistic approach. Jonathan Burt’s book” the animal image in film:more powerful than meets the eye”talks about the actuality of the fate of animalsin films .
If the animal is integral to the plot of the film and is cast as oneof the main roles , it is done so to get an emotional response out of theaudience and to make them connect more to the film and its characters. This maylead to evoking sympathy among the spectators towards animals and theirconsequentiality . But this is ironical since what is being portrayed on thescreen is an absolutely different story from that behind the scenes. What authentically transpires “behind the scenes” takes theinhuman form of animal cruelty. Arwa Lodhi goes on to verbalize about how “theconcern for animal welfare was suppressed”. Since times immemorial, animalshave been brutalised for man’sregalement. Before the American Humane Association came into being, there were no rules or regulations in placeto forfend these innocent voiceless creatures. In the movie’ Ben Hurr’ 100 horses met their death! They foundsatanic ways to edify the animals how to fall and jump on the correct signals .
The poor creatures were even made to jump through flames just to get thedesired “dramatic effect”.During the making of ‘Jesse James’ in 1930 the horses were coerced to wear movie blinkerswith eyes painted on them. The horses plummeted to their deaths as they weremade to run to the edge of a 75 foot cliff! This film became the impetusfor theneed for protecting these inculpable beings and so the American HumaneAssociation was born. Furthermore, Arwa Lodhi goes on to state that the ” American Humane Association can no longer be trusted to do their job”. Isupport this claim because there have been numerous instances where the AHA hasfailed to perform their obligations. It is supposed to be an organisationcommitted to ascertaining the safety, welfare and salubrity of animals. Thisseems contradictory to the fact that so many animals are “killed “and sometimeseven “euthanised” in movies.
Itis a fact that there are at least 21 movies and tv shows where animals havebeen brutally injured and murdered! The blockbuster movie Life of Piexemplifies this fact. King(the Bengaltiger, the species of which are proximately extinct ) virtuallydrowned duringthe shooting of this film. Life of Pi went on to win an Oscar but at the expenseof the lives of the faultless animals.Movies like ‘The Hobbit’ , ‘Pirates of the Carribean’, and many others starring famousactors have coerced animals into acting by denying them aliment, hitting themuntil they bled and caging them in the most insufferable conditions.TheAmerican Humane Association whichis ‘funded by the very industry it is monitoring”, repudiates any postulationsof animal brutality by claiming that all the incidents transpired off-camera.They do not take into account the mental trauma the animals face during theirtraining for these movies and ironically instead of being paid hundreds ofdollars like their ‘HUMAN’counterparts they are met with chains and whips! However, had the AmericanHumane Association not existed, so many cases of animal abuse would have goneunnoticed. Since the inception of AHA the rate of animal abuse has gone downconsiderably.
Now thanks to the modern technology and “computer generatedimages” we can still make movies where animals are the protagonists withouttorturing and tormenting them. We needto sensitise the producers , directors and their trainers to stop these demonicacts towards animals and finally bid adieu to animal abuse altogether.”All life deserves respect, dignity and compassion.
ALLLIFE.”-Anthony Douglas Williams. Yours sincerely ,Sukrit Sethi Word Limit: 800