By now, it’s likely you’ve heard about, and probably seen, the video taken during the filming of A Dog’s Purpose. It appears to show a German shepherd being forced into a wave pool. He looks incredibly scared and unwilling.
There’s a lot of opinions about this out there, so what the hell, here’s mine.
Some say, “It’s only a dog.”
Others say, “He’s fine; they’re not hurting him.”
As reported by the New York Times, an official statement released by Amblin and Universal says, “While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking.”
I wish I were stating the obvious when I say that pain is pain. Trauma is trauma. Be it physical, mental, or emotional, against human or animal, pain is pain. To say that Hercules wasn’t harmed is a fallacy born from ignorance. When you are scared and robbed of your freedom to flee and ability to defend yourself, you are harmed. That is harm.
Think of how you would feel if forced against your will into a scary situation that no matter how hard you fight, you cannot get out of. Imagine being confused as to the reasoning behind someone doing this to you. Imagine the betrayal in knowing the person terrorizing you is the same person to whom you look for comfort and guidance (assuming the trainer was involved).
What is it all for? Human entertainment. Human profit. I know this probably goes on in many movies and TV shows. Rodeos, circuses, and zoos all use animals in the name of human entertainment and profit. It’s never okay.
The official statement released by Amblin and Universal also says they, “…don’t want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.”
Is it possible they don’t value that relationship as much as they wish us to believe they do? It seems to me that with this trauma, in the name of entertainment and money, the only animal/human relationship they celebrate is one of power and dominance over those seen as lesser beings.
The intended message of a movie/story never excuses any questionable methods used to create the movie, especially when helpless beings are the victims.
As far as it being only a dog, come on. Really? Why are we still having this argument?
Because dogs don’t have a voice many humans are willing to listen to, because they are seen as a weaker species, because we have the ability to lord over them, we should care more about them, not less. There is no noble power in crushing those who are weaker and at a greater disadvantage than us.
Please let me know what you think of it all.