Movie "War Horse," American Humane, dead animals

American Humane stated that “No Animals Were Harmed”® in Steven Spielberg and Walt Disney’s new film “War Horse.” That is not true. Animals were killed per order so they could be stuffed and used in the film. This is against American Humane’s own “Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media.” The film should not have the “No Animals Were Harmed” label.

December 29, 2011 Hartlepool Mail posted an article about the taxidermist who killed and stuffed the animals per order for the film. Hartlepool Mail stated the following,

“A taxidermist has more reason than most to be looking forward to the release of a new US smash-hit film. Hartlepool man Kevin Wilmot will be watching world-famous director Steven Spielberg’s new movie War Horse very closely when it hits UK cinema screens on January 13. For the 49-year-old was responsible for stuffing 40 rats for the epic production, which raked in $15m dollars in just two days after it was released in the States on Christmas Day.” Wilmot stated “I just do it to order.” (Link to article )

Chapter 1-18, page 19 of American Humane’s own “Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media” states the following,

“1-18    If dead animals or animal parts are purchased from or provided by a taxidermist, an animal shelter, a slaughterhouse, a food supplier or another source, American Humane Association must be provided with documentation that demonstrates that the animals were destroyed in the normal course of the source’s operations and were not killed for the production.” Link to Guidelines ) The Hartlepool Mail article clearly stated that the taxidermy rats were made per order for the movie.

American Humane in their own release stated that monitoring of “War Horse” was “outstanding.” Here is what they have to say about the rats in the movie, “For the rats briefly seen in the trenches, a trainer placed the trained domestic rats along a walkway at the bottom of the enclosed trench set and allowed them to walk around at liberty before retrieving them immediately after this short scene.” (Link here )
They don’t even mention the taxidermy rats.

This author Mary Cummins was trained by American Humane and worked for them for a week. The production company must submit a list of ALL animals and animal parts, i.e. fur coats, taxidermy, used in the movie to American Humane before filming. There is no way American Humane would not have noticed the taxidermy rats. In order to comply with the guidelines all they had to do was use existing rat taxidermies. They did not need to kill animals for the production of this film.

American Humane has come under fire in the past for the death of animals on movies such as “Flicka.” (Link here ) In that movie two horses died. Los Angeles Animal Services investigated the death of one of the horses.

October 17, 2006 Los Angeles Animal Services officiallly stated “The necropsy report concluded the horse died from tripping on its lead rope causing it to fall and break its neck, which caused asphyxia due to diaphragmatic paralysis.  The report characterized the cause of death as accidental. After hundreds of hours of investigation Animal Services has determined that this was a preventable accident.  Animal Services contends this accident could have been avoided had the horses not been allowed to gallop or cantor freely with a dragging lead line and without an outrider to control them.” (Link to Los Angeles Animal Services official report here )

Everyone who knows anything about horses knows that you should never let a horse walk with a dangling lead because they can step on it and break their neck.

American Humane of course did their own investigation. They stated “After investigation, the American Humane Association declared that the deaths were not the fault of the filmmakers. However, the usual ‘No animals were harmed in the making of this film’ statement would no longer appear in the end credits of the film.” (Link to American Humane report here )

American Humane should remove the “No Animals Were Harmed”® statement from the movie “War Horses.” Please, complain to American Humane, Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg.

Written by, Mary Cummins, President of Animal Advocates Animal Advocates rescues ill, injured and orphaned wildlife for release back to the wild including wild mice and rats. Thanks to Los Angeles mouse and rat rescuers for the heads up.
UPDATE: The taxidermist contacted me. He told me that farmers give him dead poisoned rats to use for taxidermy. He said he freezes these rats then thaws them out to use them. He gave me no physical proof. I know a few taxidermists. They would not use poisoned or frozen specimens because the skin, fur would fall apart. I’ve picked up poisoned rats before. I also know never to freeze an animal that will need a necropsy because the tissue falls apart. Quite frankly I don’t believe the taxidermist. They all say they don’t kill the animals so activists will stop harassing them. 

UPDATE 01/11/12:  I emailed the article to American Humane 12/29/11. They just replied today with this bullshit. The taxidermist told me in writing he stuffed rats for the film. American Humane is a total sell out.

“Thank you so much for bringing your concern to us Mary.  You will be relieved to 
know the story is not true and that no stuffed rats were ordered or used for 
this production.  You can rest assured that “No Animals Were Harmed®” during the 
making of the movie and you can fully enjoy this touching film celebrating the 
human-animal bond.

Jone Bouman – Communications
American Humane Association’s Film & TV Unit
11530 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604
p: 818.501.0123 X 1024 | e:

American Humane AssociationTM
The nation’s voice for the protection of children & animalsTM”

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the USDA. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.


About Mary Cummins Animal Advocates Real Estate Appraiser

Mary Cummins is President of Animal Advocates. She is licensed with the California Department of Fish & Game, USDA and the City of Los Angeles to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife. Cummins speaks to local community groups and students about respecting wildlife and humane wildlife control. She is also a Humane Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator. She has written manuals on small mammal rehabilitation besides numerous articles. She was born and raised in Southern California. She attended Beverly Hills Good Shepherd Catholic School and Beverly Hills High School. Besides being a member of Junior Mensa and on the Dean's list, she was a top ten national swimmer and competed on the men's water polo team. She began college at the age of 15 attending the University of Southern California on scholarship, majoring in Psychology/Sociology. After college Cummins became a licensed real estate agent specializing in income property in Los Angeles. She obtained her real estate appraisal license, real estate brokerage license and currently does real estate consulting, expert witness testimony and review appraisals at Cummins Real Estate Services.
This entry was posted in american humane association, animal advocates, california, dead, killed, los angeles, mary cummins, no animals were harmed, rat, rats, steven spielberg, stuffed, taxidermy, walt disney, war horse. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Movie "War Horse," American Humane, dead animals

  1. Anonymous says:

    The movie is called "War Horse" singular horse, but that is still a terrible thing to have happened.

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