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Audiovisual - Legislation

Animals affected

Birds, Reptiles, Felines, Primates, Amphibians, Cetaceans, Elephants, Bears, Wolves, Giraffes, Seals, Zebras, Sea lions






Articles 337.1 to 337.4 the Criminal Code set out prison sentences and disqualification from exercising their profession, occupation or trade those people who, working with animals, mistreat an animal causing death or highly detrimental injuries.

Additionally, each autonomous region has its own Animal Protection Law. Generally speaking the regional animal protection laws forbid: 

  • The use of animals in activities which may cause death, abuse, suffering or where they are exposed to degrading treatment.
  • The use of animals in activities in which they are forced into behaviour which is inappropriate to their condition or which may offend the sensibility of the spectator.
  • Physical or psychological abuse to animals.
  • Keeping animals in inadequate conditions in terms of hygiene and sanitation, or inadequate in terms of the physiological and ethological needs of breed and species. In Catalonia, for example, it even specifies that it is prohibited to keep them on public or private premises in any type of condition where the environmental quality, lighting, noise, smoke or suchlike could affect them physically or psychologically.
  • Administering any type of product or pharmacological substance to modify the natural behaviour of the animals used in photo shoots as well as forbidden stimulants.
  • Filming scenes of cruelty, abuse or the death of animals. The filming of scenes simulating cruelty, abuse and the death of animals without previous authorisation.
  • Subject them to work which does not correspond to their characteristics, abusive use and unnecessary suffering.
  • Perform mutilations of animals (including such frequent activities such as extracting claws or teeth).

The filming of scenes with animals for cinema, TV and advertising which entail cruelty, abuse or suffering which is not simulated, as well as death scenes, is categorised as a very serious offence by both the Spanish Law 32/2007, 7th November, for the Care of Animals during their Exploitation, Transport, Experimentation and Slaughter, and the laws of the autonomous regions.

Although we at FAADA would like to think it unnecessary to include the following point, there are still some productions which intentionally abuse and kill animals. This is true of the Pablo Berger movie “Blancanieves” (Snow White), during the filming of which several bulls were tortured and killed. To make things worse the movie had great success at the ceremony of the Goya awards in 2013 in spite of the complaints lodged by the main Spanish animal defence organisations united under the platform Torture is not Culture.

There is a Spanish Law for Potentially Dangerous Animals (Law 50/1999, 23rd December) laying out the legal framework on the ownership of potentially dangerous animals. At the same time each regional autonomy has its own framework, which in some regions includes, as well as certain breeds  and physical characteristics of dogs, exotic and wild animals. Generally speaking they establish the following prohibitions:

  • Holding dangerous animals in enclosures which are not secure or in any way which do not guarantee the necessary safety measures.
  • Their exhibition or movement on public roads or in premises open to the general public or not holding a permit as a zoological centre.  
  • Holding them without a permit.
  • Training them without a certificate of competence.
  • Not having liability coverage.

Generally speaking, in order to use animals in advertising authorisation from the competent body of the regional government is required, whether it is Environment of Animal Health. For this authorisation the following is usually required:

  • Health certificate, depending on the species.
  • Official Veterinary Services certificates for the transportation of animals.
  •  Information about the facilities intended to house the animals.
  • Certification from a vet which states that the animals will be kept in appropriate conditions and that the facilities fulfil the requirements established by the law of animal protection. As well as stating that the animals will not be subjected to any circumstances which may cause them pain, anxiety or fear.

Likewise, any facility which holds, albeit temporarily, a specimen of dangerous wild fauna, such as elephants or big cats, must have a zoological centre permit or authorisation issued by the competent authority. Depending on the species and its origin, some animals may only stay in centres authorised by the Balai Directive (which regulates the intra-Community exchanges and imports of certain animals and their sperm, ovaries and embryos). 

The transportation of this type of fauna should be done under the correct conditions in authorised vehicles following the corresponding sanitary transportation guide in order to guarantee their protection and wellbeing.

With regard to primates, Royal Decree 1881/1994, 16th September, prohibits their ownership by private individuals.

The laws of each autonomous region on the protection of native fauna establish limitations on the use of animals of local species of protected fauna and in some cases irrespective of the origin of the animal which is intended to be used.

So, for example, by means of the Legal Decree 2/2008, 15th April, by which the Consolidated Text of the Animal Protection Law in Catalonia was passed, the use of brown bears, bottle-nosed dolphins or boreal lynxes (among others) in commercial productions is forbidden.

There is also international legislation regarding wild fauna, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which all those parties interested in working with wild animals ought to know thoroughly. Currently, the enforcement of CITES in the EU, and therefore in Spain, is carried out via the Ruling (EC) 338/97 of the Council, 9th December 1996, regarding the protection of wild species through the control of their trade, and via a more detailed Ruling: Ruling (EC) 865/2006 of the Commission, 4th May 2006, which lays down detailed rules for the application of Regulation (EC) 338/97.


Our action

At the state level

  • Through our project ADnimalsfree we are raising awareness of the problem areas pertaining to the use of animals in the audiovisual sector.
  • We organise speeches in specialist universities.
  • We donate to national sanctuaries of animals rescued from the audiovisual industry.
  • We carry out legal action in Spain.
  • We offer advice to Spanish companies in the audiovisual sector.

Among the successful initiatives we highlight:

  • Award for the “Best Online Campaign 2014” in the GOLIADS for the campaign “Wild Advertising Awards” made in collaboration with the agency CONTRAPUNTO BBDO.
  • Collaboration with the Fundación Mundo Ciudad, which has stopped accepting pieces starring wild animals in their 8 festivals and since 2013 presents the “Adnimalsfree” awards in the Publifestival gala, the International Social Advertising Festival.
  • The withdrawal of the images of a white tiger in the Nivea commercial “Incredible Experiences in the Shower”.
  • Spanish trending topic with the hashtag #ApagónVayaFauna in 2015.
  • Commitment from Unilever not to use wild animals in any more of its European audiovisual productions, 2016.
  • Gold in the Premios Eficacia 2016 (Efficiency Awards) in the category of “Social Responsibility NGO” for the campaign #ElCastingMásBestia (the most beastly audition) made in collaboration with the agency CONTRAPUNTO BBDO and getting over a million and a half views on social media.


What can you do?

  • Find out what is involved in the use of wild animals in audiovisual productions. Help us to publicise our projects and get the message to more people.
  • If you need to contract an advertising agency or a professional from the sector, do so with one which has made the FAADA pledge to work responsibly. 
  • If you are a professional of the sector, ask us for advice about the existing digital alternatives and make the pledge.

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