How it all works
Tonya Obeso and bear in Griffith Park, Los Angeles
Prior to production, AHA starts working with the script and filmmakers. They assist in evaluating any risk to animals, help in determining safe options and alternatives, offer access to specialized animal experts, and even advise and inform on various species and human issues.
During the actual production, the Certified Animal Safety Representative documents all animal action and care, and acts as an independent, professional and objective witness to the treatment of all animals. As an added benefit, the safety of the animals makes things safer for the cast and crew, and reduces liability risks.
To that end, the safety reps know, for example, that:
If there’s a wolf on the premises, don’t let your crew eat lunch on set.
Birds should not be used around actors or crew wearing perfume.
The oils, salts and heat in human skin can be toxic to fish.
Bees are not to be used when air temperatures is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
And no dogs or pets are allowed on set when a bear, big cat or other “exotic” or “captive wildlife” is present – except for working dogs, and only with the express permission of the animal trainer.
All of this is detailed in the extensive guidelines, the working bible for the AHA reps.