The cameras were still rolling when a bird reportedly died in actor Alice Englert’s hands on the set of Them That Follow, a just-released thriller. Footage obtained by TMZ shows Englert’s reaction to the bird’s death.
“Oh my god, this is so f**ked,” Englert seems to say before handing the bird to his or her handler. “Is it dead?” she asks before beginning to sob and walking away from the dead bird.
It’s 2019 … why was a real bird being used on a film set?
No animal should ever be put in danger for a movie or TV show. Exploiting animals for entertainment has never been acceptable … but in 2019, when props and realistic computer-generated imagery (CGI) are more convincing than ever, this is beyond unacceptable.
If 2019’s The Lion King remake—a film featuring only nonhuman animal characters—could be made without using a single live animal, every other film can, too.
The fact that Them That Follow producers reportedly “hired top animal wranglers and working professionals” and this tragedy still occurred just proves what PETA has been saying all along: It doesn’t matter how many precautions are taken—injuries and deaths on set can and will occur when real animals are used for film and television.
The tragedy involving Them That Follow isn’t an isolated incident … film sets where live animals have been made to perform have been rife with similar instances.
Several incidents involving animals on film and television sets have been reported recently, including on The Devil All the Time, Yellowstone, and Crazy Alien. Three horses also died during the making of HBO’s Luck, 27 animals died during the production of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and a giraffe died during the making of The Zookeeper. And who could forget the viral video captured by a whistleblower on the set of A Dog’s Purpose (also obtained by TMZ) that shows a handler trying to force a dog into a pool of rushing water?
Whistleblowers—like those who came forward in the incidents above—have long been the lifeblood of PETA’s efforts to expose abuse and seek some measure of justice for animals in the entertainment industry. And the more that cast and crew members document abuse and speak up for animals on set, the less animals will suffer for entertainment.
Do Your Part to Help These Animals
The only way to protect animals in film and television is not to use them and to opt for humane alternatives such as CGI or animatronics instead. Please, never support a movie that uses live animals. Even when abuse or a death like this bird’s don’t occur on set, it’s the treatment of the animals off set, away from the public eye, that filmmakers should be especially worried about, as even American Humane (the organization that monitors film and TV productions) doesn’t monitor off-set living conditions, preproduction training techniques, or what happens to animals when they’re no longer useful to trainers.