by MPD
Categories: Animals, Film/TV
Tags: .

In her latest post on TheKindLife. com, Alicia Silverstone discusses the, often controversial, issue of using animals in entertainment.

Silverstone was forced to deal with the topic firsthand while filming a scene with rats for her upcoming movie Vamps. In August, the star posted pictures of the animals on her blog, and today she’s commenting about her choice to work with them.

“I didn’t like that the rats I showed you in the blog a while back had to be there,” says Silverstone. “I didn’t like that the people who raise them and take care of them use them for films at all. The whole thing feels weird to me. But I will say that some good was done that day. Some people who may have thought nasty things about rats that day were playing with them, and finding them cuter than they expected.”

Alicia reveals that she always turns to PETA when dealing with this sensitive subject and ultimately felt it was appropriate in this situation.

“While I think it sucks to have animals act in movies, I really don’t think those rats were harmed or treated badly,” says Silverstone. “Do I wish they didn’t have to do that at all, and lived happily ever after in the wild? Yes – but that wasn’t my decision to make. So I guess I’m saying it’s all a bit tricky.”

Check out the full post at and tell us what you think about animals in entrainment. Is it always a black or white issue? Chime in and share your thoughts!

  • Livin Veg

    I agree that it’s not a black and white issue. If a dog lives with a person and has a happy home life, and then does something on a set (as long as the dog is happy and treated well), I don’t think it’s a big deal. But if an animal is caged, treated as a performing object, and generally treated badly, then we’ve got a problem. This is my stance more on companion animals in tv and movies. I have a different view for wildlife and exotics.

  • crumpets are yummy

    Bear baiting and dog fighting are some forms of entertainment that are cruel and nasty. Not to mention that stupid running of the bulls and associated bull fights which attract the thousands of morons every year.
    If an animal is prepared to work with you ad is hapy doing it, fine. if not…then don’t do it.

    • herwin

      cats and dogs , all animals who have a bond with humans for thousands of years, fine, maybe they can do tricks for tv and not be harmed.
      Maybe it doesnt seem a big deal, and it isnt a big deal compared to other cruelties, but its also not “okay” to use little very inteligent social mammals in small cages. These animals are simply used as dischargeble cheap objects and are being kept (for life) in small cages.
      I agree with Silverstone, its all tricky and sometimes we cant avoid it easily, but please never downplay animal cruelty. (for the record, i am not saying that anyone does that..)

  • Rachel

    I’ve been vegetarian most of my life, and vegan and animal rights activist since 2004. I am also very knowledgeable in the care of rodents. I think that what Alicia did was just fine. Rodents are a special case because although they are highly intelligent, their needs are basic, and they can easily be trained to perform tasks simply by treat-training. In the wild, rodents live in small quarters to begin with, and prefer a dark environment. As long as they are provided adequate nutrition and environmental enrichment (hiding place, chew toy, and wheel for exercise), they will be happy and healthy. Rodents that are not properly cared for will be unable to “perform” and would appear to be sickly. Rodents stress out very easily, and if proper care is not provided, they will exhibit neurotic behavior, such as constant back flips, running in circles, and barbering (fur falls out from too much grooming). (This is also a great argument against vivisection, but we’re not talking about that right now) In just my own experience of having many pet rodents, I find that they enjoy the challenge to get to a treat. It gives them mental stimulation.

    I know that for the movie Mouse Hunt, they had different mice for each “trick” that had to be performed. After the movie, all of the mice were taken home by cast and crew (who had grown to love them) to live out their lives.

    I am in no way condoning the use of all animals for entertainment. I think that it definitely needs to be judged on a case by case basis. I can only hope that those rats were treated with the utmost care and concern.

  • herwin

    40% of all mammals are rodents so its a very big generalisation to say that rodents live in small quarters, prefer a dark environment, and have only “basic needs”.
    basically “rats” and “mice” are both highly inteligent and social mammals, that in nature move long distances to find their food and have complex social interactions. In contrast, these animals are kept in small cages 24-7 when used for experiments, petshop, or entertainment industry, etc.
    i am in all ways condoning animals for entertaining purposes because, well, its absolutely not necesary, disrespectful, gives a wrong message (we can use animals for fun), and dont lets downplay the mental cruelty about being in a cage 24-7 only to come out for training or performing under bright confusing lights.