Life of Pi tiger almost killed on set

Last updated 15:19 27/11/2013

The American Humane Association has been accused of negligence in its role of monitoring animal welfare on movie sets.

Relevant offers


Sir Peter Jackson's next film will be Mortal Engines Ken Loach's latest film I, Daniel Blake couldn't be more timely Movie Review: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back DVD Review: The Purge: Election Year (graphic content) Donald Glover perfectly cast as young Lando Calrissian in new Star Wars film, say fans Graeme Tuckett watches Tom Cruise step into Jack Reacher's giant combat boots again Tom Cruise: 'I'm in talks for Top Gun sequel' Watch Disney’s menstruation PSA from the 1940s Isla Fisher, Zach Galifianakis and Gal Gadot freaked out by Jon Hamm's driving Emily Barclay on The Light Between Oceans and working with Rachel Weisz

The tiger used in the hit movie Life of Pi nearly drowned in an on-set accident that was subsequently covered up by the American Humane Association, according to new allegations.

''Last week we almost f---ing killed King in the water tank,'' association monitor Gina Johnson wrote in an email. ''This one take with him went really bad and he got lost trying to swim to the side. Damn near drowned.''

The revelations come in an extensive investigation of the treatment of animals in the film industry published by The Hollywood Reporter.

Johnson then went on to try to cover up the incident.

''I think this goes without saying but don't mention it to anyone, especially the office!'' she said in an email obtained by the industry magazine. ''I have downplayed the f--- out of it.''

The association is the body that awards the coveted ''No animals were harmed in the making of this film'' tag to movies. However, the investigation alleges the AHA is often complicit in the abuse of animals, preferring to keep powerful producers onside rather than report problems.

The investigation highlights a series of alleged failings by the association that resulted in animal injuries or deaths.

In last year's Peter Jackson blockbuster, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 27 sheep and goats also reportedly died when they were left unmonitored during a break in filming.

The association responded that it had jurisdiction over animals only while filming was in progress.

Other internal association documents revealed a dog was repeatedly punched in its diaphragm on the set of the Disney film Eight Below after the dogs got into a fight, and a chipmunk was dropped and fatally squashed in the 2006 Sarah Jessica Parker comedy Failure to Launch.

In another incident that was widely reported at the time, two horses died on the set of the film Flicka in 2005.

The deaths were ruled to be accidents but, while the ''no animals were harmed'' tag was withheld, a credit that said ''American Humane Association monitored the animal action'' still ran.

Overall, it was alleged the AHA ''distorts its film ratings, downplays or fails to publicly acknowledge harmful incidents and sometimes doesn't seriously pursue investigations''. In a statement responding to the allegations the society said the picture painted by The Hollywood Reporter of systematic cover-ups was ''completely unrecognisable''.

''Regrettably, there have even been some deaths, which upset us greatly, but in many of the cases reported, they had nothing to do with the animals' treatment on set, or occurred when the animals were not under our care,'' it said.

Ad Feedback

- Sydney Morning Herald


Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content