When producing a film, television show, commercial, music video, or other visual media project, you may need to include animals or birds in your production. Rather than using your own untrained pets, it is best to rent professionally trained animals from an experienced facility. Working with untrained animals could be dangerous, stressful for the animals, and disruptive to your production schedule. Instead, look for a facility that can provide well-trained animals and experienced handlers.
A good rental facility will have a wide variety of animal and bird species available for rent. Common film animals include dogs, horses, farm animals like cows and pigs, exotic animals like big cats and primates, and trained birds. The facility should be able to provide animals appropriate for your production needs, whether you need a friendly dog, a well-behaved horse, or an exotic animal like a lion. Considering your script and storyboarding in advance will help you determine what animal species would best suit your project.
All animals rented from a professional facility will be fully trained for film and television work. Look for a company that specializes in training animals for movies, television, commercials, and other productions. Professionally trained animals will be well-behaved on set, able to perform cues and basic behaviors on command, and comfortable with the noises, lights, and activity of a film production. Animals from an experienced facility pose very little risk of becoming frightened or disruptive during a shoot.
In addition to training, professional animal providers will ensure all animals are in good health. Rented animals should receive regular veterinary care and be up to date on all required vaccinations. A reputable facility will also be able to provide health records and any other documentation production companies commonly require for animal actors. Animal welfare is a top priority, so choose a company with a strong commitment to caring for the physical and mental wellbeing of the animals in their care.
For legal and safety reasons, it is important to work with a fully licensed and permitted animal rental facility. Applicable licenses may include a Class C exhibitor’s license from the USDA as well as any state-level permits required. A licensed provider ensures all laws and regulations regarding the use of animals in entertainment are properly followed. Permits also indicate the facility has passed required inspections and meets standards for animal housing, care, and transportation. Working with an unlicensed operation could result in legal or insurance issues for your production.
The animal rental company you choose should have experience providing animals for a wide variety of productions. Look for a facility with a proven track record of successfully supplying professionally trained animals and experienced handlers for movies, television shows, commercials, music videos, print work such as magazine photoshoots, and private events. Their portfolio should demonstrate flexibility in accommodating the needs of different projects large and small. An established company will be well-equipped to help with any production, in any genre or medium.
Finally, when selecting animal providers, consider the services included. Beyond supplying well-trained animals, you will want a company that can also provide knowledgeable handlers to work with and care for the animals on set. Experienced handlers are essential to ensuring animal safety and compliance with training and care standards. Look for full-service companies that include animal transportation and on-location per diem care, so you have one point of contact to arrange all your animal needs. Convenient services help simplify the production process so you can focus on the creative aspects of your project.