No Animals Were Harmed
NO DOGS WERE HARMED DURING THE FILMING OF THIS EPISODE. THE CAT GOT SICK AND SOMEBODY SHOT A DUCK BUT THAT'S ABOUT IT.
"No animals were harmed" is a standard message displayed at the end of movies, and in Hollywood movies is awarded by the American Humane Association. It means exactly what it says.
In the early days of Hollywood, safety procedures were pretty lax, even when concerning actors. It would be a bit of a bore to find someone who looked enough like your leading lady at short notice. But unless you need your Wild West hero to do some show jumping, there are a dozen bargain-bin nags which you could afford to risk damaging with trip-wires. It was very common for animals to get injured, and no great loss to anyone if they did.
Well trained animals were an exception, incidentally, often getting better treatment than the human actors. Also incidentally, "no human beings were harmed in the making of this film" is a phrase you will never see outside of this sentence. They applied of their own free will, they should've known what they were getting into.
After a while, sensitivities changed, safety improved and it became worth letting people know that the animals you used did not end up getting shot and used to make glue, so the "No animals were harmed" disclaimer is seen in most major works that use animals.
In particular, according to The Other Wiki, a scene in the 1939 film Jesse James, wherein a blindfolded horse was ridden off a cliff to its death, is the direct cause of the founding of the American Humane Association (the trademark holder on the phrase "no animals were harmed"), and the "No animals were harmed" language dates directly to the controversy over that movie.
In a more recent example, in the first Friday the 13 th, a scene where a camper cuts off the head of a snake is real; the owner and handler of the harmless bull snake was not told and reportedly had to be held back by several crew members upon witnessing the scene.
More recently, parodies of the message have become a common Credits Gag, often citing some other group who were not harmed, or making specific exceptions to the rule. It's also common to state that while the animals may not have been killed, they did receive some minor injuries, or to stress that while no animals were killed or injured, humans on the other hand...
- Samurai Pizza Cats had the disclaimer "No animals were harmed in the marking of this cartoon" in its closing credits.
- Episode 7 of Excel Saga had the disclaimer "No Puchuus were killed or injured in the production of this film. Well, okay, maybe we roughed a few of them up a bit. And we did cook and eat two of them, but that was after we finished filming. Does that count?"
- In Maken-ki!, a bear shows up at a pool, forcing the students to deal with it. They use their magical abilities to catapult it away from them towards a mountain, then immediately draw a big cushion which saves the bear from going splat, and a few scenes later the bear is a bit dizzy but then recovers and walks away.
- From The Naked Gun 33 1/3:
"NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED DURING THE FILMING..."
HOWEVER, SOME SPECIES DID BECOME EXTINCT DURING PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY:
SPECIES CAUSE OF DEATH
Northern Horned Barn Owl (approx. 15) Soundstage Fire
Striped Red Heinied Tapir (last pair) Grip Truck
Wooly Fettered Tree Squirrel (approx. 100) Crew Lunch
- Cats Don't Dance: "No animals were harmed in making this film. Although, a few had to be erased and redrawn."
- Brother Bear ends with Koda announcing that "no fish were harmed in the making of this film." The message is undercut by a bear chasing a salmon crying for help in the background.
- In the Mouth of Madness has this played straight and subverted:
Animal interaction was monitored by the American Humane Association with on set supervision by the Toronto Humane Society. No animal was harmed in the making of this film.
Human interaction was monitored by the Inter Planetary Psychiatric Association. The body count was high, the casualties are heavy.
- The Flintstones movie: "No dinosaurs were harmed in the making of this movie."
- At the end of the first Guyver Live-action movie: "No zoanoids were harmed during the making of this movie."
- A somewhat silly one occurs in the movie ofHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: "NO DRAGONS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS MOVIE."
- The credits for Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of The Were Rabbit state at the end "We would like to stress that no animals were harmed in the making of this film" (Given everyone in the film was plasticene no real animals of course would have been harmed). A rabbit then floats up, hits its head on the text and falls down.
- Bionicle Mask of Light has one, substituting "animals" for Rahi
- Fierce Creatures: "No animals were harmed in the making of this film, only humans."
- Parodied in the end credits of A Serious Man: "No Jews were harmed in the making of this film."
- In 24 Hour Party People, Tony Wilson goes out of his way in his narration to the audience to mention that no animals were harmed at the conclusion of a scene involving Shaun and Paul Ryder killing 3,000 pigeons with poisoned breadcrumbs.
Tony Wilson: ...although there are those who say they're pests, rats with wings.
- Feral pigeons are legally vermin in the UK, so they can be killed in any manner by any one at any time, so even if the film did kill 3,000 pigeons, they didn't really need to add the disclaimer.
- Parodied in the ending credits of Critters 2: absolutely no critters were harmed in the making of this film.
- Spoofed awesomely in one trailer for Ninja Assassin: "Only one ninja was harmed in the making of this movie. The rest were killed."
- According to the end of Four Lions: "One sheep was blown up in the making of this film."
- Independence Day: "No animals or aliens were harmed in the making of this film."
- Men in Black: "The animals and aliens used in this film were in no way mistreated and all scenes in which they appeared were under strict supervision with the utmost concern for their handling."
- Monsters, Inc.: "No monsters were harmed during the making of this film."
- The Single's Ward has "No animals were harmed during the making of this film... Except that dog... Stupid dog..."
- When The Adventures of Milo and Otis was released in the US, there were allegations that the Japanese filmmakers had harmed animals. The allegations were ultimately never proven, and the American Humane Society signed off on the production.
- Flushed Away: "No slugs were a-salted in the making of this movie."
- Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo: "Only one fish was harmed during the making of this film. But he feels better now."
- The Acknowledgements at the end of Star Trek: Titan: Synthesis states "No computers were harmed during the making of this production." The novel is about a society of sentient computers.
- One show, Jon Stewart had been making a running joke about the news making him so stressed, he would destroy what was in his hands. Then he held a kitten. The kitten 'turned into' a glass kitten. After the bit was over, he said "The kitten is fine, by the way."
- Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys ended with mythical creatures in the place: "No Centaurs were harmed".
- Over the course of the seasons, the messages got increasingly bizarre, including abstract concepts like "Gabrielle's sense of self-worth".
- "The concept of linear time was harmed in this episode."
- From an episode introducing yet another Identical Stranger: "Despite the appearance of another Xena lookalike, the gene pool was not harmed in the making of this episode".
- In The Making Of Walking with Dinosaurs: "No dinosaurs were harmed in the making of this programme".
- Bill Nye once claimed "no science guys were harmed in the course of an episode".
- In one Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, one of the characters riffs, "None of the animals harmed, were harmed during the making of this film".
- At the end of the Penn and Teller Bullshit episode on PETA, Penn declares "No animals were harmed in the making of this episode"... then thinks for a moment and lists off the various animal products used during production.
- Common on MythBusters episodes that involve animals. Averted when they investigated whether cockroaches would survive a nuclear war—they state at least twice that the insects used were bred for lab work and would have been killed anyway, but they did kill most of their test subjects in that one.
- Played with in the "Demolition Derby Special". The episode ends with an announcement by the narrator that "Automobiles were hurt in the making of this program", over "In Memoriam" clips of each car getting smashed up.
- In a viral video special, the team was trying to induce fainting goats to faint. After the segment which featured dozens of goats going stiff and falling over the narrator assures us that no goats were harmed "though several felt they were made to look stupid".
- The announcer also often notes that that Buster, the dummy that serves as a human analogue in many experiments, has a family and humorously warns them to look away at moments of carnage.
- Notably, while the cast avoid killing animals during production, they have no problem with ordering large numbers of previously killed ones from butchers and other livestock supplies. They've even used actual human bones on a few occasions.
- In early episodes, the narrator would point out that the dead pigs used to test myths were ones that had died of natural causes.
- In lectures, Adam relates the story of the only segment they have ever been banned from showing. They were trying to test the idea that a sugary cereal has less nutrition in it than the box it is packaged in. They obtained lab mice and put them on special diets. Mouse 1 was fed regular, Mouse 2 was fed the cereal, and Mouse 3 was fed the cardboard. They set the mice up for the weekend and went home. Upon returning Monday morning, they found (to their horror), a fat and happy Mouse 3... and two picked clean skeletons. Discovery freaked out and refused to air any part of the segment. Adam had been showing the clip during lectures, until he received as cease and desist letter from Discovery. They were terrified PETA was going to catch wind.
- In the Duct Tape Island episode, Adam uses a duct tape net inspired by Return of the Jedi to catch a wild chicken. However, immediately afterwards we get a disclaimer from Adam, saying that while they did catch a real live chicken, the net was just for proof of concept and they didn't actually eat the chicken; it was released and the guys were given store-bought chicken.
- An episode of My Name Is Earl had copious turtle-throwing, after Joy lost Darnell's pet, Mr. Turtle. Before the end credits, a turtle told the "crackpot" viewers that no animals were harmed.
- A programme about mishaps happening to animals would have a shot of a goat/sheep at the end and have the presenter say "No animals were harmed in the making of this programme". The animal then explodes. "Except for this one," adds the presenter.
- Parodied in a recent episode of Time Warp. "Several stuffed animals were harmed in the making of this episode. And to be honest, they had it coming."
- Parodied in Just Shoot Me. The cast helps Finch with a film for film class. They burn a birdhouse that's a substitute for a real house while the bird was still inside.
Maya: "Remember that thing in movies where they say "No animals were harmed in the making of this film? Well..."
- The episode "Slow Donnie" had a subplot concerning some birds in Nina's office. At the end there's a disclaimer from Dennis that "No birds were harmed in the making of this episode." Then a tennis ball from offscreen hits one of the cages, followed by Dennis saying "Oops!"
- Parodied in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace:
Garth Marenghi: I do not believe that any form of life, be it human, animal, or plant, should be hurt in the making of a television programme. So I personally feel really bad about that cat we killed.
- Also parodied in Richard Hammond's Blast Lab, where people who are part of experiments are referred to as 'Lab Rats': Richard Hammond says "No Lab Rats were harmed..." towards the end of the credits, and then goes on to say an exception, (for example) "...But one tripped and fell".
- Not the Nine O'Clock News had a fake apology for a scene where a lorry runs over a hedgehog. "the hedgehog used was a stuffed hedgehog and we feel we exhibited less cruelty to hedgehogs per se than whoever it is that goes around stuffing them".
- On The Young Ones, after Alexi Sayle is shown drinking the contents of a goldfish bowl, a short clip of the inside of his stomach is shown:
Puppet goldfish: Don't worry, goldfish-lovers everywhere. I am, in fact, a stunt goldfish. In fact, by the time this programme airs, I will be doing the new James Bond film. So there's no need to write in.
Puppet hunk of food: They never read the letters anyway.
- In a memorable Las Vegas episode: "No Jean-Claude Van Dammes were actually injured or killed during the filming of this episode."
- In one episode of Two Point Four Children, Ben tries to put the kettle on but accidentally turns on the blender and liquidizes David's goldfish, which had been put in there when the goldfish bowl got broken. In The Stinger to the episdoe, in order to demonstrate that the goldfish wasn't harmed, they show how the scene was "really" filmed. Just before Ben turns on the blender, a stage hand pours the fish into a bowl and replaces it with an artificial one. They then try to shoot the scene, but the bowl is in shot. The director asks Ben to hide it - Ben looks around and puts the bowl in the microwave. They start filming - and Ben accidentally turns on the microwave instead of the blender.
- A short-lived Discovery Channel show from 2004 called Animal Face Off was based around if two species dueled it out to the death, which would win. As they couldn't actually make animals fighting to the death, they used CGI with the occasional cut to stock footage.
- In one Time Team episode, they're excavating the grounds of one of London's law societies, but have to get permission from the gardener to carefully lift a geranium bed. At the end of the episode, Tony says "And if any lawyers are watching, no geraniums were harmed in the making of this episode".
- Humor a-capella group Moosebutter parodied this in their song "Captain Organic Vegetable Man":
"No animals were harmed in the making of this song, including these: *various animal noises*... No vegetables were harmed in the making of this song, including:..."]
- The credits inside Eels' Daisies Of The Galaxy include a note that "no samples were harmed during the making of this record".
- The Robbie Williams Body Horror-filled music video "Rock DJ" ends with the disclaimer "No Robbies were harmed making this video".
- The music video for Tomboy's "It's OK To Be Gay" ends with the disclaimer "No straight people were harmed during the production of this music video".
- One Ke$ha video opens with a "No mythological creatures were harmed" disclaimer, then blows away several humanoid unicorns (who, of course, bleed rainbows).
- In part of The Umbilical Brothers "Don't Explain" show. That imaginary dog didn't die! It was switched with... hm... a false one. So Yeah
- In The Secret of Monkey Island, after Guybrush feeds a drugged hunk of meat to Governor Marley's piranha poodles, and important notice pops up: "These dogs are not dead, they are only SLEEPING. No animals were harmed during the production of this game."
- Dreamfall ends with, among other things that happen after the credits, a reassuring message that "No grubbers were harmed in the making of this game". Grubbers are semi-sentient underground creatures whom the player must sneak past or physically disable on several occasions.
- The closing credits of Starship Titanic explain that "no starlings were harmed" for the game, referring to a puzzle where starlings are pureed using the ventilation system.
- This puzzle is optional, by the way, allowing a less squicky solution.
- This is parodied in Left 4 Dead, a video game pastiche of a Zombie Apocalypse movie. After one of the campaigns are finished, a fake "Credits" screen rolls showing various statistics about the player's performances. This roll ends with "X zombies were harmed in the making of this film." where X is the number of zombies the players have slaughtered. As this number is generally about 1,500, this is a very awesome moment for the players.
- In the credits for the Warhammer Fantasy Battle related game Mordheim, it is written that no animals were harmed, but several fish were consumed.
- The end credits of the first Spyro the Dragon game features the disclaimer "No sheep were harmed during the making of this game. A few Gnorcs, but no sheep."
- The end credits of Ratchet and Clank II state something along the lines of "Almost no sheep were harmed during the making of this game. The one that was had it coming."
- Quest For Booty: No heliogrubs were harmed in the making of this game.
- The credits for Painkiller note that a few demons were, in fact, hurt pretty badly in the making of the game.
- In the first F.E.A.R. game, the ending credits include the line "No Delta Force Operatives were harmed in the making of this game", in reference to the obscene number of them that die during the course of it.
- An advertisement for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on the Nintendo Gamecube said, "No turtles were harmed in the making of this game (that part comes when you play it)".
- Blizzard, in StarCraft, included an assurance in the final credits that no pixel was harmed during the game production.
- In the ending of the shareware version of Rise of the Triad, one of numerous gag messages in the ending text is "No animals were harmed during the creation of this video game, although one dog did get its butt spanked when it peed on the carpet."
- Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist ends with "A total of 34 animals were injured or maimed in the making of this game. After all, we could accept nothing less than total and complete realism."
- The SNES version of Lemmings II: The Tribes has this in its end credits, presumably in homage to the Simpsons episode quoted at the top: "No Lemmings were hurt during the making of this game. One got sick, and somebody shot a duck, but that's about it."
- The end credits for Interstate76 proudly announce: "No polygonal animals were harmed during the making of this product."
- Call of Duty 1 and 2 feature the line "No cows were harmed in the making of this game" at the end of their credits sequences.
- One of tips in Hedgewars (Worms/Scorched Earth style game) menu is "No hedgehogs were harmed in making this game".
- The end credits for Resistance 2 end with the line "No gargantuan monsters were harmed in the making of this game", most likely in reference to the Kaiju-sized Leviathan in the Chicago level.
- Parodied in one of Eggman's announcements in Sonic Colors:
"No aliens were harmed in the creation of this park. They were all harmed after the park was created."
- No Celebrities Were Harmed and No Communities Were Harmed, right here on this very wiki.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series plays this in an episode.
YAMI: No Duel Monsters were harmed in the making of this episode - except for Kuriboh.
- Parodied in the credits of Yahtzee's review of Fable The Lost Chapters: "NO PUPPIES WERE HARMED DURING THE MAKING OF THIS VIDEO EXCEPT ONE WHO GENUINELY DESERVED IT"
- "The Dr. Steel Show", Episode 1: "No Hamsters were harmed in the making of this film"
- At the end of There She Is! Step 2: Cake Dance "No animal was harmed in the making of this animation."
- Parodied/Inverted in a recent video about Google Chrome OS and it's laptop: "25 computers were harmed in the making of this video."
- "No Smurfs were harmed in the making of this list."
- College Saga reports that "No animals were harmed in the making of this film. A lettuce head was however totally beaten up by our crew members. We would like to extend our grievances to the friends and family of the abused lettuce and pray for its early arrival to Vegetable Heaven."
- The video podcast The Idiot Box ended the credits for each episode with an example of this trope appropriate to the show being mocked. (Examples: The Magic Clown tagged "No clowns were harmed..." and Ding Dong School with "No dolls were harmed...")
- Project Million claims that "No Spazz Puppets Were Harmed" followed shortly by "...that's a lie". Several puppets were slashed to bits by Spazz himself.
- The Critic: "Celebrity voices were impersonated. No celebrities were harmed in the making of this episode."
- At the end of the Family Guy episode "Dog Gone", which featured several graphic animal death scenes, Peter says:
We here at Family Guy want you to know that we respect all living beings, and assure you, that no animals were harmed in the makings of this episode. But we're about to hurt the feelings of this Italian opera singer by prematurely dropping the curtain on his performance.
- In the credits of The Emperors New School episode "The Puma Whisper", Kuzco claims that there were no emperors harmed at the episode, after that he got attacked by a puma.
- The Powerpuff Girls Movie: "No apes, monkeys, or talking dogs were harmed in the making of this film."
- King of the Hill: In "Serves Me Right for Giving General George S. Patton the Bathroom Key", Hank announces to the audience at the end of the episode, "No pipes were harmed in the making of this episode.
- The closing credits of the 2011 Winnie the Pooh film include "No stuffed animals were harmed in the making of this film."
- The back of a carton of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream states that no monkeys were harmed in the making of this product, although a few bananas may have been roughed up a little...
- Top Gear has t-shirt labels stating that: "These t-shirts were tested on animals. They didn't fit"
- Apocalypse Now. That's a real water buffalo getting slaughtered.
- In the movie Oldboy, The main character eats a live octopus, yes a real live octopus. (As a matter of fact as many as four octopi gave their life for that scene.)
- The Inuit film Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) was panned by the American Humane Association because it featured characters cutting up real dead animals and whipping sled dogs. It's worth mentioning, though, that all animals killed for the movie were used in the traditional Inuit way, and no parts were wasted.
- The exploitation film Cannibal Holocaust is infamous for scenes of gratuitous animal death, among other things.
- To make a horse fall down the stairs in Andrei Rublev, the filmmakers shot it in the head. In their defense, they got it from a slaughterhouse where it was due to be shot the next day.
- They also lit a cow on fire. The fact that, in context, this is actually more or less comic relief says just...it says something, anyway.
- It should be noted that the cow wasn't injured, since it was covered in asbestos.
- And later died from asbestosis?
- It should be noted that the cow wasn't injured, since it was covered in asbestos.
- They also lit a cow on fire. The fact that, in context, this is actually more or less comic relief says just...it says something, anyway.
- Killer of Sheep. Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Unto A Good Land features a scene where Karl Oskar and his son are caught in a snow storm, and to keep his son from freezing to death, Karl Oskar kills the ox pulling their wagon, pulls out the insides and places his son inside the dead ox. The crew got a real ox set to be slaughtered and killed it for real on camera.
- In the 1918 version of Tarzan of the Apes that is a real lion being killed.
- In the 1925 version of Ben-Hur several horses really were killed during the chariot race crash.
- In the early days of Hollywood a common technique for getting horses to fall on cue was to attach a long wire to the horse's fetlocks. When the wire ran out the horse would fall, usually with fatal or at least debilitating results.
- In the 1939 film Jesse James the horse that jumped off the cliff really did die, after this the American Humane Association for animal rights was founded.
- Averted in-universe in The Prestige, with the disappearing bird cage trick. Played straight by the film's makers, as the crushed sparrow seen when the trick's method of operation is revealed is fake.
- In Dracula: Prisoner Of Frankenstein, there is a scene where a real bat is in a jar and blood starts being poured into the jar. At first the bat seems to enjoy it, happily lapping up the blood, but then they start pouring in too much and it panics as it starts to drown in it. It's not known whether the bat drowned or not.
- Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie has "Some goats, pigs, and sheep were nuked during the original photography of some operations."
- The infamous pseudo-nature film White Wilderness created the Lemming Suicide myth by driving lemmings off a cliff from a rotating turntable and into a river.
- A possible cause for the 1936 Errol Flynn film The Charge of the Light Brigade to never be released at home video are the battle scenes which killed and injured lots of horses with trip wires.
- Truth in Television- Some films are monitored and animals die anyway. For example, a giraffe died of unrelated causes during the filming of Zookeeper. Here's the AHA review.
- In The Beastmaster, Sultan, the tiger who played Ruh, died two years after the movie due to complications from the black dye they used to cover his fur, since they apparently didn't know it was toxic or realize that even large cats tend to lick their own fur. As a result the tiger in the second movie is normally colored and a different animal.
- At least two horses died during the filming of Missouri Breaks, and several more were injured. (One was drowned, and the other one had to be put down after being crippled by a tripwire.)
- In Tintorera, a Mexican Jaws knockoff, real sharks were killed.
- The intro of Seed displays footage of actual animal cruelty (raccoons being beaten, a skinned dog, a mink being flayed and stomped) borrowed from PETA.
- A rabbit was slaughtered in Nekromantik.
- During filming of the 1988 TV-movie Bluegrass, a pregnant mare's labor was induced prematurely so that the birth could be caught on camera. The foal died shortly afterwards, leading to an investigation by the AHA.
- Variant: a real dead cow was bought from a slaughterhouse for an episode of The X-Files as the prop one looked too fake.
- During the filming of horse race scenes for the series Luck two horses were hurt and had to be euthanized. The production crew was cleared of charges of mistreating the horses and the deaths were attributed to the standard dangers faced by thoroughbred horses during racing. The series premiere even included a (fake) scene where a racehorse breaks a leg during a race and is euthanized on the track. The series does not use the "No animals were harmed" message in its credits. After another horse died during the filming of season two, HBO decided to simply cancel the series due to the bad publicity (and lower than desired ratings).
- In Concerned, the notes for one comic featuring a ton of seagulls mentions that said seagulls die if you so much as brush them with the physics gun, then notes that "many, many seagulls were killed in the making of this comic."
- Well, it was a Couch Gag in the Futurama episode where Fry dates a robot, but you get our point.