seth macfarlane
by Ali Berman
Categories: Animals, Causes, Entertainment, Film/TV
Tags: .
Photo: Helga Esteb /

No one can accuse “The Family Guy” creator, Seth MacFarlane, of abusing animals on set. While all sorts of things happen to the booze drinking dog Brian on his hit show, no harm can come to animated pooches.

Unfortunately, the rest of the animals in Hollywood aren’t so lucky. As we reported earlier today, animal wranglers who worked on “The Hobbit” came forward to recount how 27 animals died as a result of dangerous housing conditions.

MacFarlane tweeted about the news, “Glad Hobbit animal wranglers have come forth about animal mistreatment. It’s an underpublicized Hollywood epidemic that needs a crackdown.”

As the funnyman notes, “The Hobbit” isn’t alone in its deplorable treatment of animals. It’s all too common. Back in September PETA accused many big budget films and projects of neglect, abuse and other forms of cruelty. Those mentioned included “Boardwalk Empire” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”. PETA also claims that the American Humane Association’s ratings don’t always have the animal’s best interests in mind.

The AHA rejects that notion and released their own statement about the deaths on “The Hobbit” set earlier today. AHA president and CEO Robin Ganzert said, “We do not have either the jurisdiction or funding to extend that oversight to activities or conditions off set or before animals come under our protection. There are too many incidents off the set and this must stop. It is vital that we work with the industry to bring the kind of protection we have for animals during filming to all phases of production.”

Warner Bros. and Peter Jackson deny these claims noting that no animals died on set and that over 50% of animals in the films are computer generated. However, no one is saying the animals died on set. It’s the place that they were housed that was the problem.

We hope that the bad press will motivate the filmmakers to take the treatment of animals used in film and on television more seriously whether they are on set, or being housed or trained.

While “The Hobbit” will do well on its release, many animal lovers have stated that they will not be paying good money to see it. (Doesn’t mean they won’t be downloading it…)

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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  • Kyle Quandel

    The more Seth is around, the more he says, the more I love this guy! Thank you for being a voice for the voiceless & the environment – Yay Seth!!