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"NO DOGS WERE HARMED DURING THE FILMING OF THIS EPISODE. THE CAT GOT SICK AND SOMEBODY SHOT A DUCK BUT THAT'S ABOUT IT."
"No animals were harmed" is a standard message displayed at the end of movies, and in Hollywood movies is awarded (and trademarked) by the American Humane Association. It means exactly what it says
In the early days of Hollywood, safety procedures were pretty lax, even when concerning actors. It would be a bit of a bore to find someone who looked enough like your leading lady at short notice. But unless you need your Wild West
hero to do some show jumping, there are a dozen bargain-bin nags which you could afford to risk damaging with trip-wires. It was very common for animals to get injured, and no great loss to anyone if they did. Well-trained animals were an exception, incidentally, often getting better treatment than the human actors.
In particular, according to The Other Wiki
, a scene in the 1939 film Jesse James
, wherein a blindfolded horse was ridden off a cliff to its death, is the direct cause of the founding of the American Humane Association (the trademark holder on the phrase "no animals were harmed"), and the "No animals were harmed" language dates directly to the controversy over that movie.
After a while, sensitivities changed, safety improved and it became worth letting people know that the animals you used did not end up getting shot and used to make glue, so the "No animals were harmed" disclaimer is now seen in virtually all major works that use animals. More recently, with the advent of computer-generated effects, it's become possible to show animals coming to harm without having to involve any actual animals at all. In such films, "No Animals Were Harmed" is usually accompanied by a phrase to the effect of "Scenes showing harm to animals were simulated."
Parodies of the message have become a common Credits Gag
, often citing some other group who were not harmed (commonly whatever fictional creatures are featured in the movie), or making specific exceptions to the rule. It's also common to state that while the animals may not have been killed, they did receive some minor injuries, or to stress that while no animals were killed or injured, humans on the other hand...
Note that the phrase refers to animals specifically in the colloquial "non-sapient beings" sense. "No human beings were harmed in the making of this film" is a phrase you will never see outside of this sentence. note
Human actors (or crew for that matter) applied of their own free will, they should at least in theory know what they're were getting into, and they have their own organizations (such as OSHA and the Screen Actors Guild) to watchdog their safety concerns.
Compare Our Lawyers Advised This Trope
and No OSHA Compliance
. No Celebrities Were Harmed
and No Communities Were Harmed
derive their names from this trope but are not otherwise directly related.
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- The Vat19 ad for the Frogger Tabletop LCD Game disclaims that no men in frog suits were harmed in the making of the ad.
Anime and Manga
- Samurai Pizza Cats had the disclaimer "No animals were harmed in the marking of this cartoon" in its closing credits.
- Episode 7 of Excel Saga had the disclaimer "No Puchuus were killed or injured in the production of this film. Well, okay, maybe we roughed a few of them up a bit. And we did cook and eat two of them, but that was after we finished filming. Does that count?"
- From The Naked Gun 33 1/3:
"NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED DURING THE FILMING..."
HOWEVER, SOME SPECIES DID BECOME EXTINCT DURING PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY:
SPECIES CAUSE OF DEATH
Northern Horned Barn Owl (approx. 15) Soundstage Fire
Striped Red Heinied Tapir (last pair) Grip Truck
Wooly Fettered Tree Squirrel (approx. 100) Crew Lunch
- Cats Don't Dance: "No animals were harmed in making this film. Although, a few had to be erased and redrawn."
- Brother Bear ends with Koda announcing that "no fish were harmed in the making of this film." The message is undercut by a bear chasing a salmon crying for help in the background.
- In the Mouth of Madness has this played straight and subverted:
Animal interaction was monitored by the American Humane Association with on set supervision by the Toronto Humane Society. No animal was harmed in the making of this film.
Human interaction was monitored by the Inter Planetary Psychiatric Association. The body count was high, the casualties are heavy.
- The Flintstones movie: "No dinosaurs were harmed in the making of this movie."
- At the end of the first Guyver Live-action movie: "No zoanoids were harmed during the making of this movie."
- A parody of this trope occurs in the movie of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: "No dragons were harmed in the making of this movie."
- The credits for The Curse of the Were-Rabbit state at the end "We would like to stress that no animals were harmed in the making of this film" (given everyone in the film was plasticine, no real animals would have been harmed anyway). Right then, one of the rabbits floating around throughout the end credits hits its head on the text and falls squealing off the screen.
- BIONICLE Mask of Light has one, substituting "animals" for Rahi
- Also, it's in the Bionic text.
- Fierce Creatures: "No animals were harmed in the making of this film, only humans."
- Parodied in the end credits of A Serious Man: "No Jews were harmed in the making of this film."
- In 24 Hour Party People, Tony Wilson goes out of his way in his narration to the audience to mention that no animals were harmed at the conclusion of a scene involving Shaun and Paul Ryder killing 3,000 pigeons with poisoned breadcrumbs.
Tony Wilson: ...although there are those who say they're pests, rats with wings.
- Parodied in the ending credits of Critters 2: absolutely no critters were harmed in the making of this film.
- Spoofed awesomely in one trailer for Ninja Assassin: "Only one ninja was harmed in the making of this movie. The rest were killed."
- According to the end of Four Lions: "One sheep was blown up in the making of this film."
- Independence Day: "No animals or aliens were harmed in the making of this film."
- Men In Black: "The animals and aliens used in this film were in no way mistreated and all scenes in which they appeared were under strict supervision with the utmost concern for their handling."
- Monsters, Inc.: "No monsters were harmed during the making of this film."
- The Single's Ward has "No animals were harmed during the making of this film... Except that dog... Stupid dog..."
- When The Adventures of Milo and Otis was released in the US, there were allegations that the Japanese filmmakers had harmed animals. The allegations were ultimately never proven, and the American Humane Society signed off on the production.
- Flushed Away: "No slugs were a-salted in the making of this movie."
- Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo: "Only one fish was harmed during the making of this film. But he feels better now."
- The Water Horse: "No Sea Monsters were harmed during the making of this film."
- State and Main: "Only 2 animals were harmed in the making of this film."
- Seconds later, the film corrects itself by showing the typical AHA disclaimer.
- The closing credits The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists state "No dodos were made extinct in the making of this film."
- EZ Money, a direct-to-DVD kid flick revolving around the 419 Scam has "No animals were harmed in the making of this movie and no scam e-mails were sent although several of the crew reportedly signed up for an online dating service."
- Speed 2: Cruise Control has "No oceans were harmed during the making of this film" right under the standard animal disclaimer.
- Rat Race's end credits contains the line: "No Animals were harmed in the making of this film; only actors were harmed during the making of this film."
- Django Unchained put the "no animals were harmed" disclaimer at the beginning of the closing credits rather than near the end of the closing credits, possibly to avoid any accusations of horses being killed during filming.
- The credits of Star Trek: Of Gods and Men includes the line "No tribbles were harmed during the making of this motion picture."
- Winnie-the-Pooh: "No stuffed animals were harmed in the making of this film."
- Guardians of the Galaxy has "no raccoons or tree creatures were harmed in the making of this film."
- In The Simpsons Movie, Lisa speaks up, wanting to make sure that no animals were harmed in the making of the film, then breathes a sigh of relief when such a notice comes up.
- The Acknowledgements at the end of Star Trek: Titan: Synthesis states "No computers were harmed during the making of this production." The novel is about a society of sentient computers.
- Wry Martinis by Christopher Buckley states that "no animals were harmed in the making of this book."
- One show, Jon Stewart had been making a running joke about the news making him so stressed, he would destroy what was in his hands. Then he held a kitten. The kitten 'turned into' a glass kitten. After the bit was over, he said "The kitten is fine, by the way."
- Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules The Legendary Journeys ended with mythical creatures in the place: "No Centaurs were harmed".
- Over the course of the seasons, the messages got increasingly bizarre, including abstract concepts like "Gabrielle's sense of self-worth".
- "The concept of linear time was harmed in this episode."
- From an episode introducing yet another Identical Stranger: "Despite the appearance of another Xena lookalike, the gene pool was not harmed in the making of this episode".
- In The Making Of Walking with Dinosaurs: "No dinosaurs were harmed in the making of this programme".
- Bill Nye once claimed "no science guys were harmed in the course of an episode".
- In one Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, one of the characters riffs, "None of the animals harmed, were harmed during the making of this film".
- At the end of the Penn & Teller: Bullshit! episode on PETA, Penn declares "No animals were harmed in the making of this episode"... then thinks for a moment and lists off the various animal products used during production. Earlier, he also says that they wanted to kill, clean, cook and eat a chicken on the show, but the Humane Association wouldn't allow it.
- To make things even more bizarre, Penn points out that while they themselves cannot kill, clean, cook, and eat a chicken on the show, they are allowed to show footage of other people doing so (And end up showing Stock Footage from a chicken farm-themed documentary). Penn is quick to point out the logicial flaws in this.
- Common on MythBusters episodes that involve animals. Averted when they investigated whether cockroaches would survive a nuclear war — they state at least twice that the insects used were bred for lab work and would have been killed anyway, but they did kill most of their test subjects in that one.
- Played with in the "Demolition Derby Special". The episode ends with an announcement by the narrator that "Automobiles were hurt in the making of this program", over "In Memoriam" clips of each car getting smashed up.
- In a viral video special, the team was trying to induce fainting goats to faint. After the segment which featured dozens of goats going stiff and falling over the narrator assures us that no goats were harmed "though several felt they were made to look stupid".
- The announcer also often notes that that Buster, the dummy that serves as a human analogue in many experiments, has a family and humorously warns them to look away at moments of carnage.
- Notably, while the cast avoid killing animals during production, they have no problem with ordering large numbers of previously killed ones from butchers and other livestock supplies. They've even used actual human bones on a few occasions.
- In early episodes, the narrator would point out that the dead pigs used to test myths were ones that had died of natural causes.
- In lectures, Adam relates the story of the only segment they have ever been banned from showing. They were trying to test the idea that a sugary cereal has less nutrition in it than the box it is packaged in. They obtained 9 lab mice and put them on special diets with 3 mice per cage. Cage 1 was fed regular, Cage 2 was fed the cereal, and Cage 3 was fed the cardboard. After a week of monitoring, the crew left for the weekend and went home, leaving the mice unattended. Upon returning Monday morning, they found (to their horror), a fat and happy Mouse in Cage 3...and two picked clean skeletons. Discovery freaked out and refused to air any part of the segment. Adam had a rough cut of footage and showed the clip during a college lecture, until he received a 'cease and desist' order from Discovery. They were terrified PETA was going to catch wind.
- In the Duct Tape Island episode, Adam uses a duct tape net inspired by Return of the Jedi to catch a wild chicken. However, immediately afterwards we get a disclaimer from Adam, saying that while they did catch a real live chicken, the net was just for proof of concept and they didn't actually eat the chicken; it was released and the guys were given store-bought chicken.
- An episode of My Name Is Earl had copious turtle-throwing, after Joy lost Darnell's pet, Mr. Turtle. Before the end credits, a turtle told the "crackpot" viewers that no animals were harmed.
- A programme about mishaps happening to animals would have a shot of a goat/sheep at the end and have the presenter say "No animals were harmed in the making of this programme". The animal then explodes. "Except for this one," adds the presenter.
- Parodied in a episode of Time Warp. "Several stuffed animals were harmed in the making of this episode. And to be honest, they had it coming."
- On Ross Noble's appearance on Live At The Apollo he put an imaginary turtle in a drawer but left it open a gap so it wouldn't die. He tried to talk about something else but commented that the audience was still looking at the turtle. He then said that no imaginary animals were harmed in the making of his show... except the imaginary panda that he then procided to beat up, while discuss what is so good about beating up a panda.
- Parodied in Just Shoot Me!. The cast helps Finch with a film for film class. They burn a birdhouse that's a substitute for a real house while the bird was still inside.
Maya: "Remember that thing in movies where they say "No animals were harmed in the making of this film? Well..."
- The episode "Slow Donnie" had a subplot concerning some birds in Nina's office. At the end there's a disclaimer from Dennis that "No birds were harmed in the making of this episode." Then a tennis ball from offscreen hits one of the cages, followed by Dennis saying "Oops!"
- Parodied in Garth Marenghis Darkplace:
Garth Marenghi: I do not believe that any form of life, be it human, animal, or plant, should be hurt in the making of a television programme. So I personally feel really bad about that cat we killed.
- Also parodied in Richard Hammond's Blast Lab, where people who are part of experiments are referred to as 'Lab Rats': Richard Hammond says "No Lab Rats were harmed..." towards the end of the credits, and then goes on to say an exception, (for example) "...But one tripped and fell".
- Not the Nine O'Clock News had a fake apology for a scene where a lorry runs over a hedgehog. "the hedgehog used was a stuffed hedgehog and we feel we exhibited less cruelty to hedgehogs per se than whoever it is that goes around stuffing them".
- On The Young Ones, after Alexi Sayle is shown drinking the contents of a goldfish bowl, a short clip of the inside of his stomach is shown:
Don't worry, goldfish-lovers everywhere. I am, in fact, a stunt
goldfish. In fact, by the time this programme airs, I will be doing the new James Bond
film. So there's no need to write in.
Puppet hunk of food: They never read the letters anyway.
- In a memorable Las Vegas episode: "No Jean Claude Van Dammes were actually injured or killed during the filming of this episode."
- In one episode of 2point4 Children, Ben tries to put the kettle on but accidentally turns on the blender and liquidizes David's goldfish, which had been put in there when the goldfish bowl got broken. In The Stinger to the episdoe, in order to demonstrate that the goldfish wasn't harmed, they show how the scene was "really" filmed. Just before Ben turns on the blender, a stage hand pours the fish into a bowl and replaces it with an artificial one. They then try to shoot the scene, but the bowl is in shot. The director asks Ben to hide it - Ben looks around and puts the bowl in the microwave. They start filming - and Ben accidentally turns on the microwave instead of the blender.
- A short-lived Discovery Channel show from 2004 called Animal Face Off was based around if two species dueled it out to the death, which would win. As they couldn't actually make animals fighting to the death, they used CGI with the occasional cut to stock footage.
- In one Time Team episode, they're excavating the grounds of one of London's law societies, but have to get permission from the gardener to carefully lift a geranium bed. At the end of the episode, Tony says "And if any lawyers are watching, no geraniums were harmed in the making of this episode".
- Parodied by this promotional video for Top Gear, which ends with the disclaimer "No real David Beckhams were harmed, or actually used in this video".
- The road safety documentary Crash Test Dummies: A Smashing History ends with the message "Many crash test dummies were harmed during the making of this programme."
- Used as a brick joke at the end of the first episode of series 27 of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. At the start they had a guy in a circus outfit holding a rabbit and a hoop for it to jump through, at the end they all have rabbit pie while a caption reads; "Only one delicious rabbit was harmed during the filming of this show".
- Used out of universe as a joke by Iwan Rheon, aka Ramsay Snow in Game of Thrones. When doing some media work to promote the series, Iwan joked "No Alfie Allens were harmed in the making of the show. He still has his penis".
- Outsourced: The series ends with Gupta saying "No Indians were harmed in the filming of this video. Bye bye, for now," into the camcorded he use to film the Dance Party after the wedding ceremony.
- When Insomniac With Dave Attell was in New Orelans, hey rode along with the NOPD as they we exterminating Nutria. He finished the bit with the disclaimer, "Just in case you are wondering, a lot of animals were hurt during the shooting of this."
- The Robbie Williams Body Horror-filled music video "Rock DJ" ends with the disclaimer "No Robbies were harmed making this video".
- The music video for Tomboy's "It's OK To Be Gay" ends with the disclaimer "No straight people were harmed during the production of this music video".
- One Kesha video opens with a "No mythological creatures were harmed" disclaimer, then blows away several humanoid unicorns (who, of course, bleed rainbows).
- A disclaimer at the end of Michael Jackson's music video for "Earth Song" says that no animals were harmed during the making of the video, though an unnamed poacher had killed an elephant within a mile of the shot.
- The music video for Korn's Somebody Someone ends with the disclaimer "No insects were harmed in the filming of this video" in front of Jonathan Davis' hand with a squashed fly on it.
- The comic strip Liberty Meadows parodied this once. The first two panels were of a character tripping and falling on a banana peel, and nothing else. The third and final panel said "No animals were harmed in the making of this comic strip, with the exception of" followed by an extremely Long List.
- Parodied in one Mallard Fillmore comic strip, when the TV that Mallard is watching says, "The following heartwarming holiday special contains 100 percent faux snow; no actual snow was harmed in the production of this program."
- Parodied in the Season 2 finale of Mongrels, which shows a black-and-white montage of the many, many animals who have died on the show, set to Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing".
- In the credits for the Warhammer related game Mordheim, it is written that "No toads or rats were harmed during the production of Mordheim. Several fish were consumed."
- In part of The Umbilical Brothers's "Don't Explain" show. That imaginary dog didn't die! It was switched with... hm... a false one. So Yeah
- In The Secret Of Monkey Island, after Guybrush feeds a drugged hunk of meat to Governor Marley's piranha poodles, an important notice pops up: "These dogs are not dead, they are only SLEEPING. No animals were harmed during the production of this game." The Special Edition adds a bold voice-over that narrates the Important Notice.
- Dreamfall: The Longest Journey ends with, among other things that happen after the credits, a reassuring message that "No grubbers were harmed in the making of this game". Grubbers are semi-sentient underground creatures whom the player must sneak past or physically disable on several occasions.
- The closing credits of Starship Titanic explain that "no starlings were harmed" for the game, referring to a puzzle where starlings are pureed using the ventilation system.
- This puzzle is optional, by the way, allowing a less squicky solution.
- This is parodied in Left 4 Dead, a video game pastiche of a Zombie Apocalypse movie. After one of the campaigns are finished, a fake "Credits" screen rolls showing various statistics about the player's performances. This roll ends with "X zombies were harmed in the making of this film." where X is the number of zombies the players have slaughtered. As this number is generally about 1,500, this is a very awesome moment for the players.
- The end credits of the first Spyro the Dragon game features the disclaimer "No sheep were harmed during the making of this game. A few Gnorcs, but no sheep."
- The end credits of Ratchet & Clank II state something along the lines of "Almost no sheep were harmed during the making of this game. The one that was had it coming."
- Quest For Booty: "No heliogrubs were harmed in the making of this game."
- Going Commando, the game that features the Sheepinator, gives us:
"No sheep were harmed in the making of this game. For the most part. The one that was had it coming."
- The credits for Painkiller note that a few demons were, in fact, hurt pretty badly in the making of the game.
- In the first F.E.A.R. game, the ending credits include the line "No Delta Force Operatives were harmed in the making of this game", in reference to the obscene number of them that die during the course of it.
- An advertisement for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on the Nintendo Gamecube said, "No turtles were harmed in the making of this game (that part comes when you play it)".
- Starcraft included an assurance in the final credits that no pixel was harmed during the game production. (No guarantees about animals, given that this was the game where clicking on a critter could eventually make it go up in a mushroom cloud.)
- In the ending of the shareware version of Rise of the Triad, one of numerous gag messages in the ending text is "No animals were harmed during the creation of this video game, although one dog did get its butt spanked when it peed on the carpet."
- The SNES version of Lemmings II: The Tribes has this in its end credits, presumably in homage to the Simpsons episode quoted at the top: "No Lemmings were hurt during the making of this game. One got sick, and somebody shot a duck, but that's about it."
- The end credits for Interstate '76 proudly announce: "No polygonal animals were harmed during the making of this product."
- Call of Duty 1 and 2 feature the line "No cows were harmed in the making of this game" at the end of their credits sequences.
- In Hedgewars, one of the menu tips is "No hedgehogs were harmed in making this game".
- The end credits for Resistance 2 end with the line "No gargantuan monsters were harmed in the making of this game", most likely in reference to the Kaiju-sized Leviathan in the Chicago level.
- Parodied in one of Eggman's announcements in Sonic Colors:
"No aliens were harmed in the creation of this park. They were all harmed after the park was created."
- The Hexen II demo ended with the note that no sheep were harmed during its making.
- At the end of Jungle Strike for the Sega Genesis only, there is a disclaimer that says something along the lines of "No bovine were harmed during the making of this game."
- Parodied at least in the box art's back cover for the PlayStation version of Brain Dead 13:
WARNING: EXTREME CARTOON VIOLENCE! No cartoon characters were maimed or mutilated during the making of this game.
- Startopia: No Memau where harmed during the making of this game
- In the Mass Effect 3 DLC Citadel, Wrex can say (if alive) "Looks like no humans were harmed in the making of this party".
- The end credits for Bad Boys' Love in Hatoful Boyfriend states that no birds were harmed in the making of this game although many of the bird characters seriously were. It may have been because one bird is a Luzon Bleeding-Heart, a species with plumage that makes it look like they've been shot in the chest.
- "No animals were harmed in the making of MechWarrior Online. Only humans were harmed."
- After the final puzzle and cutscene in Mystery Case Files: Madame Fate, under the "To Be Continued" is a note that no actual carneys were harmed.
- The Critic: "Celebrity voices were impersonated. No Celebrities Were Harmed in the making of this episode."
- At the end of the Family Guy episode "Dog Gone", which featured several graphic animal death scenes, Peter says:
We here at Family Guy want you to know that we respect all living beings, and assure you, that no animals were harmed in the makings of this episode. But we're about to hurt the feelings of this Italian opera singer by prematurely dropping the curtain on his performance.
- In the credits of Sheep in the Big City's first episode there is this message:
"No sheep were injured during the filming of this special. The next day, however, Sheep walked into a wall and stubbed his toe"
- In the credits of The Emperor's New School episode "The Puma Whisper", Kuzco claims that there were no emperors harmed at the episode, after that he got attacked by a puma.
- ''The Powerpuff Girls Movie'': "No apes, monkeys, or talking dogs were harmed in the making of this film."
- King of the Hill: In "Serves Me Right for Giving General George S. Patton the Bathroom Key", Hank announces to the audience at the end of the episode, "No pipes were harmed in the making of this episode.
- In Rocko's Modern Life, a disclaimer at the end of "Hut Sut Raw" says, "No shrews were harmed during the making of this episode."
- The Series Finale of Daria features a curse removal potion with the disclaimer "No animals were harmed other than the ones we sacrificed."
- "Western Animation/Crashbox": "No slobs were harmed in the filming of this show."
- The back of a carton of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream states that no monkeys were harmed in the making of this product, although a few bananas may have been roughed up a little...
- Top Gear has t-shirt labels stating that: "These t-shirts were tested on animals. They didn't fit."
- In Great Britain, the horse racing industry gets really indignant when people, not unreasonably, suggest that persistent losers are routinely converted to petfood so as to get a little money back on a wasted investment. The racing authorities point out that any animal which is so badly injured during a race as to necessitate humane killing is destroyed by the course vets under rigourously humane conditions. The site of an on-course accident is usually screened off so as to spare watchers the sight, but this does not mean the carcass is then discreetly sold on to Pedigree Petfoods. It is pointed out that pedigree horses bred for racing are usually so full of equine-specific veterinary drugs that if they were turned into petfood, the meat would be poisonous to cats and dogs. (This was also a factor in the horse-meat scandal that affected British supermarkets in 2013.)
- Greyhound racing is dogged by allegations that aging or surplus dogs are un-necessarily routinely put down, not always humanely; dog-racing maintains that old greyhounds do not make suitable family pets and cannot be re-homed when their racing days are over. Animal rights groups dispute this.
- Contemporary "artist" Guillermo 'Habacuc' Vargas, who let a dog starve to death in an "art" exposition.
Films — Live-Action
- Averted famously in the classic Jean Renior film The Rules Of The Game during the rabbit hunt.
The death of one rabbit in particular haunts the film's audiences; its final act is to fold its paws against its chest.
- Sometimes, films are monitored and animals die anyway. For example, a giraffe died of unrelated causes during the filming of Zookeeper. Here's the AHA review.
- Apocalypse Now. That's a real water buffalo getting slaughtered.
- In the movie Old Boy, The main character eats a live octopus, yes a real live octopus. (As a matter of fact as many as four octopi gave their life for that scene.)
- The Inuit film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner was panned by the American Humane Association because it featured characters cutting up real dead animals and whipping sled dogs. All the animals killed for the movie were used in the traditional Inuit way, and no parts were wasted.
- The exploitation film Cannibal Holocaust is infamous for scenes of gratuitous animal death, among other things.
- To make a horse fall down the stairs in Andrei Rublev, the filmmakers shot it in the head. They got it from a slaughterhouse where it was due to be shot the next day.
- They also lit a cow on fire. The fact that, in context, this is actually more or less comic relief says just...it says something, anyway.
- Killer of Sheep. Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Unto A Good Land features a scene where Karl Oskar and his son are caught in a snow storm, and to keep his son from freezing to death, Karl Oskar kills the ox pulling their wagon, pulls out the insides and places his son inside the dead ox. The crew got a real ox set to be slaughtered and killed it for real on camera.
- In the 1918 version of Tarzan of the Apes that is a real lion being killed.
- In the 1925 version of Ben Hur several horses really were killed during the chariot race crash.
- In the early days of Hollywood a common technique for getting horses to fall on cue was to attach a long wire to the horse's fetlocksnote . When the wire ran out it would yank the horse's leg out from under it and the horse would fall, usually with fatal or at least debilitating results.
- As mentioned above, the 1939 film Jesse James had a blindfolded horse that walked off a cliff and died. This particular incident led to the founding of the American Humane Association.
- Averted in-universe in The Prestige, with the disappearing bird cage trick. Played straight by the film's makers, as the crushed sparrow seen when the trick's method of operation is revealed is fake.
- In Dracula: Prisoner Of Frankenstein, there is a scene where a real bat is in a jar and blood starts being poured into the jar. At first the bat seems to enjoy it, happily lapping up the blood, but then they start pouring in too much and it panics as it starts to drown in it. It's not known whether the bat drowned or not.
- Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie has "Some goats, pigs, and sheep were nuked during the original photography of some operations."
- The infamous pseudo-nature film White Wilderness created the Lemming Suicide myth by driving lemmings off a cliff from a rotating turntable and into a river.
- A possible cause for the 1936 Errol Flynn film The Charge of the Light Brigade to never be released at home video are the battle scenes which killed and injured lots of horses with trip wires.
- The 1983 Iraqi film Al-Mas'ala Al-Kubra (a.k.a. Clash of Loyalties) was the last to use the "Running W" technique, in which a horse has an anchored wire attached to its leg and is then brought to a full gallop. This trips the horse and launches its rider off when the wire reaches its limits. This frequently killed the horse.
- In The Beastmaster, Sultan, the tiger who played Ruh, died two years after the movie due to complications from the black dye they used to cover his fur, since they apparently didn't know it was toxic or realize that even large cats tend to lick their own fur. As a result the tiger in the second movie is normally colored and a different animal.
- 27 animals were said to have died in the production of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey due to bluffs, sinkholes and jagged fencing.
- According to Cracked.com's article: 23 Outrageous Marketing Lies You See Every Day explains that those 27 animals died from dehydration, exhaustion, and drowning during a break in the filming of the movie. The American Humane Association claims that they monitored all the "Significant animal action", and that no animals were harmed during the actual filming.
- At least two horses died during the filming of Missouri Breaks, and several more were injured. (One was drowned, and the other one had to be put down after being crippled by a tripwire.)
- In Tintorera, a Mexican Jaws knockoff, real sharks were killed.
- The intro of Seed displays footage of actual animal cruelty (raccoons being beaten, a skinned dog, a mink being flayed and stomped) borrowed from PETA.
- A rabbit was slaughtered in Nekromantik.
- In the Pink Flamingos DVD, John Waters says the following regarding the chicken scene: "Animal rights activists always say to me, "How could you kill a chicken for a movie?" Well, I eat chicken and I know the chicken didn't land on my plate from a heart attack. We bought the chicken from a farmer who advertised freshly killed chicken. I think we made the chicken's life better. It got to be in a movie, it got fucked, and then right after filming the next take, the cast ate the chicken!"
- In the original Friday the 13th a scene where a camper cuts off the head of a snake is real; the owner and handler of the harmless bull snake was not told and reportedly had to be held back by several crew members upon witnessing the scene.
- The '70s horror film Stanley revolves around the eponymous snake's owner, the snakes he sells to others, and what happens when everything goes out of control. Out of the numerous snake deaths shown on scene, the only fake one is a woman biting a snake's head off. What's more, when a snake is shown eating a rat, the snake was already dead and the rat was being toyed with and tortured by the filmmakers (they only finished the scene and killed it when the crew began feeling physically ill). This, among other reasons, kept the film off DVD until 2012.
- There's a recent controversy about Life of Pi where the tiger, King as he's known in real life, was alleged to have nearly drowned during one scene but the AHA still gave the film permission to use the disclaimer. And from other allegations, it wasn't the only time...
- A seagull was accidentally killed during the filming of 1969's Last Summer. Star Barbara Hershey was so disturbed by this she spent a couple of years credited as "Barbara Seagull" and even took a pay cut on one of her films when the producers did not want to allow the alternate billing.
- The Danish movie Blinking Lightsnote had one of the main characters, in anger, pull out a pistol and shoot a mooing cow. Albeit, a stuntman did it, the cow was real and so was the gun.
- The much-maligned The Assassination of Trotsky shows a real Mexican bullfight in graphic detail. As if to drive home the unpleasantness, the filmmakers even show the bull being carved up for steaks afterwards.
- Wake In Fright features a violent kangaroo hunt about halfway through. There's some controversy over whether the roos were actually killed for the movie, or whether the filmmakers merely shot footage of a professional cull.
- Sam Peckinpah killed lizards for The Ballad of Cable Hogue and chickens for Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid with squibs. Some of his crew members were disgusted by this and begged Peckinpah to stop, to no avail.
- One scene in The Babe Ruth Story has a small dog hit with a baseball on-screen. It yelps in pain.
- Lots of films that employed the Slurpasaur trope also had their dressed-up lizards or baby alligators chomp on one another for real, most notably the original One Million BC and the old color adaptations of Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Lost World.
- Hilariously subverted in "My Nature Documentary", by Jack Handey...
Show monkey wandering around, injured, lost and alone. Make him trip, using fishing line attached to his leg. (Try to get this on first take, because after that monkey will probably try to bite off fishing line.)
- During filming of the 1988 TV-movie Bluegrass, a pregnant mare's labor was induced prematurely so that the birth could be caught on camera. The foal died shortly afterwards, leading to an investigation by the AHA.
- A real dead cow was bought from a slaughterhouse for an episode of The X-Files as the prop one looked too fake.
- During the filming of horse race scenes for the series Luck two horses were hurt and had to be euthanized. The production crew was cleared of charges of mistreating the horses and the deaths were attributed to the standard dangers faced by thoroughbred horses during racing. The series premiere even included a (fake) scene where a racehorse breaks a leg during a race and is euthanized on the track. The series does not use the "No animals were harmed" message in its credits. After another horse died during the filming of season two, HBO decided to simply cancel the series due to the bad publicity (and lower than desired ratings).
- In the Jak and Daxter trilogy movie (a free DVD shipped with copies of Jak X: Combat Racing, providing a look back at and a summary of the previous three games) narrated by Daxter himself, it's explicitly said, "Yes, an ottsel WAS harmed during the making of this game!" over images of him facing his usual abuse.
- Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist ends with "A total of 34 animals were injured or maimed in the making of this game. After all, we could accept nothing less than total and complete realism."
- Super Bobido World (A Super Mario World Game Mod)) has the mesage "Lots of Koopas were hurt in the making of this" in the credits. As seen here