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Animals Were Harmed: Reality TV and Animals a Dicey Mix


Major animal protection agency concerned for the welfare of animals on ‘reality tv’; plans new guidelines for 2009.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, November 20, 2008 --(PR.com)-- Animals are harmed and put in stressful situations on a growing number of ‘reality tv’ shows, according to the head of American Humane’s Film and Television Unit, with new oversight guidelines scheduled to be announced in 2009.

The American Humane Association, which began monitoring the treatment of animal ‘actors’ on movie sets in 1940, is designated by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) as the only animal welfare organization with on-set jurisdiction in the treatment of animals. Since then, American Humane’s oversight has grown to monitor animals used for television, and the group has some serious concerns about the increasing number of animals appearing on so-called ‘reality tv’ shows.

“The problem with reality shows is they want the drama,” Karen Rosa, head American Humane’s Film and Television Unit based in Sherman Oaks, California. “They cast for the human, and the animal ‘comes with.’” The problem, according to Ms. Rosa, “is the animal is often put in an unfamiliar, drama-filled environment along with the human. And when money is involved, humans may forget what is best for their pet.

“You could have a wonderful dog in your backyard, but you’re bringing it into a completely different situation, a situation where the contestants are trying to one-up each other. Everyone wants to win, and sometimes they are doing things that are not in the best interest of the animal.”

Their Phone Was “Ringing Off The Hook”
Citing one recent example, Ms. Rosa said the organization’s phone was ‘ringing off the hook’ with concerned viewers of a 10-week network reality show broadcast over the summer. Although American Humane representatives were on the set intermittently, many of the “challenges” the dog-and-human pairs were already filmed ‘without our monitoring the situation,” Ms. Rosa said. “We saw it in the same way the public did—when it was on television.” American Humane was also upset when some contestants publicly described their actions as approved by the organization, something Ms. Rosa described as a “misrepresentation of our guidelines.”

American Humane is currently working with the television industry on new guidelines for the treatment of animals on ‘reality tv’ and expects to issue them in 2009.

The complete interview with American Humane’s Karen Rosa, can be heard at www.petliferadio.com by clicking on the show “Pets In the City”, hosted by Diane West, publisher of New York Tails magazine.

About American Humane: The American Humane Association has overseen movie sets since 1940 to make sure animal actors stay safe while portraying heroes, villains, companions, and comedians. American Humane’s Film & Television Unit is designated by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) as the only animal welfare organization with on-set jurisdiction and the only one authorized to bestow the “No Animals Were Harmed”® declaration on film and television productions involving animals.

About PetLifeRadio.com:

PetLifeRadio.com is the #1 pet podcast radio network, featuring weekly 30-minute talk shows hosted by the most well-known pet experts, authors and radio and TV personalities in the world of animals and pets.

The show lineup features the country’s top pet experts:

“Oh Behave” with host, Arden Moore (top 10 finalist 2008 People’s Choice Podcast Award)

“Teacher’s Pet” with host, Pia Silvani

“The Pet Doctor” with host, Dr. Bernadine Cruz, DVM

“Pets In The City” with host, Diane West

“What Were You Thinking” with host, Bob Tarte

“Travel Tails” with hosts, Susan Sims & Nicholas Sveslosky & Janine Franceschi

“It’s A Doggy Dog World” with host, Liz Palika, and co-hosts, Kate Abbott & Petra Burke

“Pet Peeves” with host, Amy Shojai

“Wings ‘n Things” with hosts Barbara Heidenreich and Robin Shewokis

“Lucky’s Stars”, featuring weekly pet horoscopes with Lucky.

“The Pet Set”, featuring pet fashion with Queen Dog Lady.

“Horsing Around”, with host Audrey Pavia

“Paranormal Pets” with host, Dusty Rainbolt

“When Animals Speak” with pet communicator, Erika Alexander

“Cattitude” with host, Tom Dock

“VNN Pet Video of the Week” with host, Dr. Jim Humphries

“PetTalk Naturally” with hosts, Dr. Kim Bloomer & Dr. Jeannie Thomason

“Take Me Home” with host, Susan Daffron

“DSPN- Dog Sports & Performance Network” with host, Laurie Williams

“Wynn With Dogs” with host, Raquel Wynn

“Pet Pulse News”, pet news from ZooToo

All PetLifeRadio shows are available free, and can be downloaded or streamed live from the PetLifeRadio.com website, or subscribed to as podcasts in iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, Pod-planet, Pod Nova, Podcast Pickle, Podcasting Station, Podanza, Podcast.com, Pod Lounge, Mediafly.com, PodcastDirectory.com, TruMix.com, PodcastBlaster.com, podcasts.cc, feedzie.com, podfeed.net, Widgetbox, blubrry, speakupstudios.com , Ecosystem, and cellphones through Foneshow, Phonecasting.com, Melodeo, and other major podcast portals.. Pet Life Radio also features PetLifeVideo.com with fun and informative pet videos.

For more information, to listen to shows or contact the show hosts or Pet Life Radio, visit the website at www.PetLifeRadio.com.

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