AHA Hollywood office hit by L.A. Times

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2001:

LOS ANGELES–Los Angeles Times staff writers Ralph Frammolino and James Bates charged on February 9 that the Hollywood office of the American Humane Association is “slow to criticize animal mistreatment, yet quick to defend the studios it is supposed to police.” The AHA has monitored unionized Hollywood screen productions since 1939, by contract with the Screen Actors Guild.

Frammolino and Bates cited four purported key examples of AHA failings. Two involved alleged abuse off-set, beyond the reach of the Screen Actors Guild contract. One involved a film called Simpatico which used the AHA seal of approval without authorization.  The last was a severe injury suffered by one of about 400 horses used in 1998 on the set of The 13th Warrior, filmed in British Columbia.

Soon-to-retire AHA Holly-wood office director Gini Barrett told ANIMAL PEOPLE both in 1998 and after the L.A. Times article appeared that then-British Columbia SPCA set representative Dorothy Sabey first approved the shot, but changed her mind after the horse was hurt. Sabey no longer represents either the AHA or the BC/SPCA.

Frammolino and Bates wrote that the AHA flunk rate of 4% of monitored screen productions is low–but 4% is a high flunk rate by the quality control standards of most industries. The AHA unsuccessfully sued the L.A. Times before the article appeared, believing that Frammolino and Bates might have obtained a confidential document concerning the 1999 ouster of former AHA animal protection chief Robert Hart, and that disclosure might harm the AHA defense against a lawsuit Hart has reportedly filed, claiming age discrimination. Barrett indicated that the decision to sue was not her own.

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