8th December 2022

There may come a time when you’re enjoying your day, walking down the street or attending an event with friends, when suddenly you witness something that makes your heart sink. Whether it’s a public event using live animals as props, or a school fete with a mobile zoo in attendance, it’s always shocking to come across such distressing exploitation unexpectedly, and you may wonder what you can do to help. Filming events and gathering evidence of what you witness during them, is often vital to help show the world the truth of these events, and the harm they cause animals. 

When taking video footage, it’s important that the quality is as strong as possible, so that it may be used more effectively in the future. There are many easy tips that can be followed to help achieve this:

1. Film in landscape, not portrait

Filming in landscape helps editors to use the footage effectively in the future, as many devices such as computers or televisions have landscape-oriented displays for easier editing and viewing purposes. Simply turning your phone on its side and recording your footage in landscape orientation will make your video easier to view on a range of devices, and ensure that your subject completely fills the frame so you don’t miss any important shots!

2. Good lighting

This isn’t always possible at evening events where live animals are present, and, as flash isn’t possible to use around animals as it can cause further stress or damage their sensitive eyes, good lighting isn’t always achievable. However, there are some brightening settings available on smartphones that will help to capture the footage you are aiming to gain, even after the subject has been filmed.

3. Good sound quality and asking the right questions

When gathering footage of an event that is causing you concern, you may wish to have a polite discussion with the organisers or animal handlers present, to help gain more information on what the animals regularly experience during such activities. 

Asking questions such as: 

  • Where are they based/where have they travelled from?
  • How do they transport the animals?
  • How long are they there for?
  • How many animals do they have – did they bring them all today?
  • How do they house the animals?
  • Where do they get the animals from?

Please be careful of how you approach asking such questions. It is crucial you stay safe when conversing with event organisers or individuals. These questions are only a guide, to act as possible points of interest when concerning live animal events, and they should only be asked in a conversational and friendly tone.

You can also internally ask yourself questions such as: 

  • Are the same animals being used repeatedly?
  • Do the animals look distressed in any way?
  • Are the animals being handled correctly?
  • Do animals in their enclosures look comfortable i.e are they pacing etc.
  • Do they have adequate water, food or heat packs available (especially important for reptiles)?   

Gaining footage of situations where there is need for concern is extremely valuable, but your safety is paramount so you should remember to only do so if there is no risk to yourself or other members of the public. 

4. Look out for any licences being displayed at events using live animals

In England, activities involving the exhibition of animals such as mobile zoos require a licence issued by the local authority under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. It is a requirement that the exhibitor or business posts a copy of their license in a prominent place for public display. You can look out for this license and if possible record the details or take a picture of the licence. 

A snapshot of the wins Freedom for Animals have achieved over the years thanks to our incredible supporters can be found here!

Plus! You can look into the investigations Freedom for Animals have carried out over the years here, and read more on how gathering footage can be vital in the fight for animal freedom!

- 8th December 2022