Act for the Protection of Animals, as Amended and Performed

Dr. Roelof F. Hugo, a state veterinarian working within the Department of Agriculture for Veterinary Services, has issued the following letter in regards to the implementation of the Performing Animals Amendment Act:

The Performing Animals Protection Act (PAPA; Act 4/2016) was recently updated.

A Letter of Information for the South African Film and Production Industry as well as Other Interested Parties

In January 2017, a significant revision to the Performing Animals Protection Act (Act24/1935) was approved by the legislature, and it went into effect in July of the same year.

In the past, the district magistrates working for the Department of Justice were the ones who were in charge of issuing licences. Under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, the task of giving licences is currently the responsibility of state veterinarians, who serve in the capacity of PAPA licencing officers delegated by the PAPA (DAFF).

As a guideline for inspections, the Veterinary Procedural Notice (VPN) 48/17-07 was established in order to assist both the licencing officer and the applicant with the process of applying for an upgraded PAPA licence.

Before a licence may be awarded, facilitators or persons are need to comply with the VPN’s standards, which are outlined in the protocol. For instance, the facility veterinarian is responsible for approving each major training facility and ensuring that it meets with approved requirements for each species. These standards can include the design of the enclosure, feeding planning, enrichment activities, and training equipment.

The purpose of this letter is to discuss some characteristics of the virtual private network (VPN) that are relevant or special to the filming industry.

1. Which kind of animals are protected by this act?

1.1 The Act defines an animal as “any equine, bovine, sheep, goat, pig, fowl, ostrich, dog, cat or other domestic animal or bird, or any wild animal or wild bird that is in captivity or under the control of a person.” This includes horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, ostriches, dogs, cats, and other domestic animals and birds. In the past, the Act had a clause that specifically excluded reptiles from the description of “animal.” Reptiles are now included in the protections afforded by the new PAPA legislation as a result of the deletion of this clause from the new Act.

Fish and other marine animals are also considered to fall under the category of “any wild animal or wild bird that is in captivity or under the authority of a person,” according to 1.2.

Species of wildlife that are kept in a camp where they are unable to hunt or survive without human intervention are considered to be under the control of humans and are therefore included under PAPA if people can view them (they are ‘exhibited’), even though they should be able to retreat at will to a place where they may not be visible. This is because PAPA considers such species to be under the control of humans.

The statute does not, however, apply to wild animals that are allowed to move about unfettered in their natural environments and are not governed by the actions of human beings. For instance, self-sufficient lions that are monitored and observed during a game drive in a game reserve may in no way be construed as being under the control of a human. However, lions that are taught to walk with people as part of a “experience” in the same game reserve would require a PAPA licence. These lions would be considered “experiences.”

If a company promoted boat trips in which customers could swim with dolphins or sharks in the ocean, the company would not be required to obtain a PAPA licence. But if individuals swam with dolphins or sharks in a restricted environment like an aquarium, the company in question would be needed to hold a licence to conduct business in that state.

However, free-roaming animals that are fed with the intention of close contacts with humans for the sake of filmmaking must be present, as well as a PAPA-licensed animal trainer who is licenced for that particular species and an animal welfare inspector who monitors the use of these animals.

2. Performers in a Role

2.1. The Officer in Charge of Licensing (LO)

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries is responsible for making the selection of the LO. A LO is typically the regional veterinarian for the state. If the applicant is no longer in compliance with any of the conditions that were a prerequisite for the issuance of the licence or if the welfare of the animals is being jeopardised, the LO has the authority to suspend, revoke, or change the licence.

2.2. Producing Organization

It is the duty of the company to ensure that they have hired an appropriately licenced animal trainer and that they have an animal welfare inspector present who is able to monitor the use of the animals on behalf of the LO. This responsibility falls under the category of the company’s legal responsibilities.

The aforementioned workers are all paid in accordance with the typical industry arrangements at this time.

Animal Trainers (AT) are frequently referred to as “wranglers” of the animals they work with

Animal trainers can instruct their charges to respond in a particular manner to a predetermined set of situations, directives, or stimuli. An animal trainer (AT) needs to demonstrate that they have relevant experience in the humane training methods of a particular species in order to be eligible for a PAPA licence. In order to evaluate this expertise, the LO can look at evidence provided by experts or monitoring reports.

The LOs would like to instil a culture in which the persons who are responsible for sourcing the animals that will be used in filming are those who are the most equipped to do it. As a result of this, the relevant production department should communicate with the AT. The AT would then be responsible for ethically sourcing animals with the required appearance and behavioural traits, which is another way of saying to source the animals that are the most appropriate for a particular set of circumstances.