LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com)   –   PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — is accusing a local firm that supplies Hollywood with star animals of treating their critters very un-star like.

PETA obtained undercover video that it claims shows abuse of animals. They filed complaints with federal, state and county agencies.

“Birds and Animals Unlimited” has supplied animals for movies like “Harry Potter” and “Marley and Me,” to name just two.

KCAL9’s Erica Mandy spoke to PETA that says the Acton-based company has a long resume but is short on care.

“I am sure that producers, directors, actors are as horrified by this investigation as we were, I think people, most people do not know,” said Lisa Lange of PETA.

PETA says an employee of “Birds and Animals Unlimited” shot the undercover video between August and November 2016.

The woman said that the owl used in the “Harry Potter” movies was kept in an enclosure littered with feces that went uncleaned for weeks.

A pig known as  Miss Piggy, she said, had open skin cancer wounds that went untreated for months. She also alleged that dogs were kept in cages — out in the cold — without even getting blankets.  She said cats were often deprived food for training purposes.

“Filth and neglect and deprivation is the standard for the animal supply industry  — this is a look inside one of the largest suppliers, but it is a problem across the board,” Lange said.

Federal, state and county agencies say they are now investigating.

A spokesperson for LA County Animal Control told Mandy that Birds and Animals Unlimited was last inspected — unannounced — in September and got an “A” rating.  That inspection would have occurred during the time the undercover video was purportedly shot.

A manager at Birds and Animals Unlimited spoke to Mandy off camera but said, over the phone, that the video was misleading.

Mandy quoted her as saying, “These animals are both our friends and our co-workers. We take their care and housing extremely seriously. We want to make sure these animals have the best of everything.”

Referring to the PETA allegations, she said they were “salacious and baseless claims.”

Mandy says the manager got a little emotional while speaking over the phone. She said they are a small business and arged that PERA has a bigger agenda.

Meanwhile, PETA says they hope the video and complaints lead to more surprise inspections.


Comments (6)
  1. How is this still going on? Animals shouldn’t be abused for entertainment period but especially not when CGI animals are incredible.

  2. Disgusting! With so many high tech options now available (see The Jungle Book, Noah, Planet of the Apes, etc.) there’s simply no excuse for forcing animals to perform. These trainers must find another line of work.

  3. Kim Marie says:

    Completely unacceptable. Hollywood has cutting edge technology like CGI at its disposal to portray animals. Funding and perpetuating cruelty to animals is immoral, which is why I boycott any film, television show or ad that features live animals.

  4. Good for PETA. This is what happens when animals are used as props. I’ll stick to movies like “The Jungle Book” and TV shows that spare animals from suffering by using CGI technology.

  5. Paula Renee says:

    Kudos to PETA for exposing this abuse. In sharp contrast to the glamour associated with Hollywood, the day-to-day living conditions for animals used in movies, TV shows, and commercials are often grim. CGI technology continues to advance by leaps and bounds, and should always be used instead of live animals.

  6. With so many realistic CGI options available, it baffles me why anyone would support such animal abuse and exploitation. Truly talented movie producers use CGI and other humane alternatives. The “apes” in the modern Planet of the Apes movies were so life-like that they made me cry.

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