“A Dog’s Purpose”: Creating a Purpose for Animal Abuse in the Film Industry?

//CAITLIN ENGLISH//

Based on the book “A Dog’s Purpose” by James Cameron, the movie “A Dog’s Purpose” will be released on Jan. 27, 2017. After recent events, People Ethical Treatment Animals (PETA) is boycotting the release of the upcoming film due to a video that was leaked Wednesday afternoon on TMZ. The video showed a German Shepherd named Hercules being forced into turbulent waters.

Hercules was clawing at the pool’s edge and tried to run away as the trainer attempted to force it into rushing water, while other trainers laughed off camera at the dog’s failure. The footage was shot on Nov. of 2015, but still manages to create controversy today.

Once the video became viral, PETA asked all dog lovers to boycott the movie. “They need to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props,”  Lisa Lange, PETA’s senior vice president said to ENews. “This movie is directed towards those who love dogs and, clearly, this is not a dog’s purpose.”

The target with the boycotting of the movie release is the animal supplier of the movie, Birds & Animals Unlimited (BAU). In an attempt to save the movie, producers from Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures issued a statement. “‘A Dog’s Purpose’ is a celebration of the special connection between humans and their dogs,” the statement said. “In the spirit of this relationship, the Amblin production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals.”

“Amblin is confident that great care and concern was shown for Hercules, as well as for all of the other dogs featured in the film,” Amblin Entertainment said to ENews. “Hercules was comfortable with the stunt. On the day of the shoot, Hercules did not want to perform the stunt on tape, so the Amblin production team did not proceed with the shoot.”

Since the controversy is recent, production companies are continuing to review the video and its use in the upcoming movie.

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