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Do Nature Films Invade The Privacy Of Animals?

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It goes without saying that technology has allowed nature filmmakers to peel back curtains on the lives of animals we otherwise would never be able to witness. Such stunning displays, as witnessed in Discovery’s LIFE or Disneynature’s OCEANS, are incredible reminders of the lives all around us — and the wonder of nature itself.

Not so fast, says Dr Brett Mills, a senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia. In a new published work, Mills argues that its wrong for broadcasters to treat all creatures as “fair game” and to fail to consider their right to privacy before recording. “The question constantly posed by wildlife documentaries is how animals should be filmed, they never ask whether animals should be filmed at all,” said Mills in an interview. “There are many activities which animals engage in which are common to wildlife documentary stories but which are rendered extremely private in the human realm.”

Mills then goes on to state that death, mating, and giving birth remain “largely absent” from broadcasting when it comes to humans — though we have to wonder if the guy has ever turned on a television or surfed the web.

Others are calling Mill’s claims “coo-coo” simply because “consent to film” from animals is just silly. “How can you say whether an animal wants to filmed? No animal will understand the concept,” said filmmaker Piers Warren.

PETA was also brought into the debate, telling the UK Telegraph that documentaries actually help us better protect our natural world. “Wildlife documentaries can play an important role in increasing people’s awareness and understanding of the many amazing species sharing our planet,” a rep said. “If the animals aren’t distressed when they’re being filmed then, to use a sporting metaphor, we say, ‘No harm, no foul’.”

via UK Telegraph

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