By Jennifer O'Connor
If you think that animals who are used in movies are trained with a magic wand, consider the latest charges lodged against two British animal trainers who supplied a tawny owl named Cuddles for the production of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The RSPCA is taking the pair to court for alleged cruelty to animals.
Just last year, another U.K. trainer who provided some of the owls for the popular movie series pleaded guilty to 17 cruelty-to-animals offenses after humane authorities found dozens of emaciated and dehydrated birds with severe injuries, overgrown beaks, and swollen and clubbed feet at the trainer's facility. The birds were confiscated.
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Always speak up for animals who are used as acting props and remind companies that there is no reason to use wild animals in ads when animation, animatronics, computer-generated images, and other highly advanced technologies can produce realistic substitutes without supporting cruelty.