In 1972, American Humane Association produced its first National Humane Review newsletter, informing members of how animals were treated in recently released movies. A far simpler rating system was used to categorize movies as either Acceptable or Unacceptable. Those ratings were expanded in 1978 to include Believed Acceptable, Questionable, and Inappropriate for Children. The Inappropriate for Children rating was discontinued in 1985 as more parents relied on the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) Ratings Board.
A new, simplified rating structure
Each decade, film and television production increases, and American Humane Association changes its movie reviews to reflect the realities of our coverage capabilities. We had to move passed the conjecture of Believed Acceptable ratings. A new, simplified rating structure was created and launched during the 2004 integration of our Film & TV Unit website into the umbrella American Humane Association site. Working together, we fine-tuned those ratings to manage the rise in productions and our strict standards.
For the first time, movies could surpass our former highest rating of "acceptable" and receive the rating of Monitored: Outstanding and be awarded with the "No Animals Were Harmed"® end credit. When our Certified Animal Safety Representatives™ can monitor significant, but not all, animal action on cooperative productions, those films may receive the rating of Monitored: Acceptable and the modified end credit: "American Humane Association monitored some of the animal action. No animals were harmed in those scenes."
Monitored: Special Circumstances
Sometimes, unique or special circumstances occurred before, during or after filming (for example, but not limited to, an unpreventable illness, injury or fatality can occur to an animal on a monitored movie set. If production followed American Humane Association's Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media and cooperated with the protective measures enforced by our Certified Animal Safety Representatives™, we may rate the film Monitored: Special Circumstances.
Films released prior to the July 2004 rollout of new ratings and the new website – such as "The Alamo", "Hidalgo" and "American Outlaw" – would receive the designation of Monitored: Special Circumstances if rated today.