Animal Aid

Film 'censor' under attack for defending scenes of animal cruelty

Posted 28 October 2004

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has come under attack from national campaign group, Animal Aid, for its defence of footage depicting gruesome scenes of animal cruelty.

The South Korean production, 'Old Boy', recently released by the UK 'censor', depicts a horrific scene where a man eats a squirming, live octopus. The BBFC has attempted to justify its decision to pass the sequence by using a narrow interpretation of the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act of 1937. The director of the Board claimed in a letter to Animal Aid that, because the octopus' head was bitten off quickly, there was no legal offence and therefore the scene was acceptable for public viewing.

Veterinary surgeon and scientific consultant to Animal Aid, André Menache, has written in response to Board director David Cooke:

"The effect is to give legitimacy to brutal and savage scenes, designed to appeal to the audience's most base instincts... Giving licence to such acts of depravity is desensitising and likely to incite some people to copy what they have witnessed on the screen."

Notes to Editors

  • The Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937 prohibits the public exhibition of any scene organised or directed to involve actual cruelty to animals.

  • For more information contact André Menache on 01732 364546 ext 233.

  • We have an ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.

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