The American Humane Association ensured that our Akita adults and Shiba puppies were comfortable and safe during the entire shoot.
Animals appearing in film and television are testaments to the human-animal bond that is evident in their interaction with their trainers and with cast and crew members, and ultimately, in their effect on audiences. Which is why the American Humane Association ensures their safety and care on set.
They are the only organization authorized to issue the “No Animals Were Harmed” end- credit disclaimer, and they set the standard for the humane treatment of animals. They protected our animal stars from any potential harm, and it was a pleasure having them on our set.
American Humane currently monitors 70 percent of known animal action in film and television productions.
This amounts to approximately 2,000 productions annually, where they combine animal welfare and behavioral expertise to care for animal actors and protect their interests.
The American Humane Association believes that all animals should be treated humanely throughout their lives.
American Humane Association on Location with Hachi
Safety Representatives were on set, day and night, to ensure the safety of our animals throughout production. If an animal appeared tired or conditions could be unsafe, the film monitor had the right to stop the filming. Luckily, we had no issues.
After screening the finished product and cross-checking all animal action, it was determined our film met or exceeded Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media.
How We Protected Our Animal Stars
- All fences were checked to make sure there were no sharp edges.
- For the shed scenes, the area was inspected for any harmful debris. Dog beds or blankets were placed on the ground to ensure their comfort.
- The shed was kept at a comfortable temperature, and heat was used if necessary.
- For train station scenes, all trains were stationary whenever an animal was on set. The only time animals were allowed near moving trains is when actors held them.
- For scenes in which Hachi walks on the train tracks, off-camera trainers walked alongside the dog and cued the mild walking action. The dog’s pathway was cleared of any debris prior to shooting the scene.
- For scenes that included a barbecue grill, the dogs were kept a safe distance from the grill
- For “fetch” scenes, treats were scattered around near a ball to get the puppy to pursue the treats and ignore the ball.
- For scenes in which a puppy or dog licks a person or object, dog food or baby food was used to entice the dog to lick. All food used was deemed safe for canine consumption and takes were limited to avoid overfeeding.
It is because of the American Humane Association we can continue to create movies featuring animals in a safe and caring manner. Much like the real Hachi, our animal actors were lovingly treated.