Would it be acceptable to you if "no animals were harmed" during the shooting of your favourite tv show, but they were killed after filming their scenes? Of course not! Sadly, the entertainment industry has a callous disregard for the animals it uses.
Jollygood starred as an animal actor in a TV show shot in Ontario and was to be killed after filming wrapped for his scenes. He was a celebrated character and a major part of the show's plot, yet still was not deemed important enough to do what he was born to do: to live a life.
In late Summer 2014, he was rescued from this callousness and brought here to Piebird Farm Sanctuary to a life of love! This is his story... (continued below photo)Sign Jollygood's campaign
Many people have a great deal of fun watching TV shows and movies. Our culture even deeply celebrates the people we see on the screen. Unfortunately, the animals used in TV and film are often not even respected as much as the sandwich truck that feeds the cast & crew.
In Jollygood's case, some loving folks on the TV crew were shocked by the animal handler boasting between shooting scenes that this little goat was to become "a delicious curry on Monday." They reached out to us publicly on social media, with only a few days to act.
To anyone who dedicates their life to saving animals, that moment is a great stress to be put in. It is a great stress because unfortunately it is a daily occurrence.
This little guy was not just a farm animal in the background of a scene. He was an animal actor, a celebrated character and a major part of the plot and marketing for the show. Going beyond our capacity, we of course said "Yes!" and got excited about bringing in this little goat to our animal family. We were even excited about the potential to work with the show to set a needed precedent in the film industry around the positive ending of this story -- to hopefully avoid other animals to be used and forgotten in such a way.
Perhaps associating with animal-rights activists eventually scared them because we then got wind that the off-site producers somehow kiboshed the adoption plans that had been made and the show decided not to facilitate the adoption after all. Even more heartbreaking is that without informing us, the goat's fate was again heading back towards meat and not life. (What kind of person would even want to eat an actor than many have fallen in love with?)
When we found out this news, we acted quickly to track down the goat and secure his safety. He was given the name Jollygood and immediately needed a full week of 24hour care (every minute of the day and night) to overcome overlooked health, love and trust issues.
Watching a baby goat play is one of the most joyful things in this world, it is even commonly described as the number one treatment for depression! That joy of watching Jollygood play here at the sanctuary for the first time was mixed with sadness about how close he came to being needlessly killed. That joy was mixed with the frustration that the entertainment industry is a repeat offender (for this show alone, this was already the second goat cast as an disrespected animal-actor).
Imagine if the dog from your favourite sitcom was afterwards given to a pound to be put down? We can change things... (continued below photo)
What can we do now?
*** Sign-up to our email list to get word when we are going to do a big coordinated ask to the producers of Jollygood's former show, asking them to make precedent-setting commitments ***
Even in this omnivore world, the mistreatment of animals is the kind of attention that can plague the appetite and appreciation of a show. But the inverse of this would be wonderful, the positive potential for a production opting to do the right thing can create a snowball of positive change in the industry.
Rather than create a media storm around their poor behaviour, we'd like to work cooperatively with this show and producers to celebrate a true change in attitude towards animals.
It seems obvious that this production well understands the magnetic attraction people have for goats to write another one into their Season Two script and to celebrate the goat's appearance in every interview and all the promotion: "Yes, the goat will be back."
Long after this goat would have been killed if we did not intervene, the parent producton company was still posting "The goat is back" and "it's all about the goat!"
But using an animal for promotion without actually respecting his life is to just profit off his misfortune further.
We all know how much the internet world love goats. By how they market the show, it is obvious this sentiment is already realized by the production. This positive perception would be inverse if the audience knew that in real life the goat was something other than celebrated.
Most of the tragedy and plight "farm" animals face is invisible to us all, we're never encouraged to see them as the wonderful individuals that they are. So it is that much more upsetting when a goat who becomes visible as a celebrated actor in the lives and livingrooms of many is disregarded like this.
Celebrating a life enough to cast them as a character in a TV show is allowing people to make a big connection to that animal. Then not respecting that life enough to make the simplest gesture is a betrayal. It's a bad deal. It's a betrayal to the people who fell in love with the animal through the screen, and of course it is a deep betrayal to the animal himself.
1. We are calling on the show and producers to make commitments to not use animals in any future shows. Now that we all know the negligence that happens, they can make things right by setting a positive example for the rest of the industry.
The use of animals as actors can be very traumatizing for them. You can imagine the stress put upon a baby goat to be taken away from the safety of his mother to the hustle and commotion of a film shoot -- to be taken from a dark barn stall to the confusion of bright lights and cameras. Since arriving at the sanctuary, Jollygood has been requiring around the clock care and he's learning to trust again. Any baby simply needs to be comforted.
2. We expect them to share what lessons they have learned about respecting animals when they reference Jollygood in promotion for the show (Jollygood's season airs 2015).
It is more than questionable to take sentient creatures and stick them on a TV shoot. Using animals for acting roles is further traumatizing for them because the animal's needs may come second to the production or handler's profits.
In total, this TV show has received $1.7 Million from the province of Ontario (Northern Ontario Heritage Fund) for filming. That's about $100,000 per episode of the public's money, yet they could not budget in proper care, handling and legacy for the animals they use. This arrangement creates the understanding that they have the obligation to listen to us as concerned co-partners in this production.
Following the code of ethics as a farm sanctuary, we do not pay for the lives of animals unless absolutely necessary -- as this would add to the profits to those who exploit them. Given the short timeline and the lurch we were left in, we ended up having to negotiate a price for Jollygood's life. We were told that "everyone on the crew & all the actors fell for him HARD," but when asked for contributions not one dollar came in from the people or the production who profited from him.
Jollygood's story is a common one. Animals need to be considered. We must all honestly face the true capacity that animals suffer cruelties for our benefit (in this case entertainment) and we need to take responsibility for that cruelty. (continued below photo)
A big welcome to Jollygood!
There are obviously costs associated with providing a caring, forever home for a goat. Any commitment you might be inspired to make towards vet/food/housing/care would be gratefully received. This will allow us to open our doors to more animal-friends. Sponsorship opportunities also exist for Jollygood and the campaign we are developing to make stern asks to the entertainment industry.
Perhaps the biggest thing you can do to get involved is to share Jollygood's story.
All that come through here to visit him are delighted to get to know HIS personality, and not the character that was written for him in the script or the circumstances of his life before sanctuary. Welcome Jollygood!