Animals on Set

Regulations and Legislation: Animals on Set

South Africa is divided into nine Provinces - each with its own Nature Conservation Department. The owner of animals (other than domestic pets and livestock) moving from one province to another for filming purposes must have an import / re-export permit issued by the Provincial Authority in whose jurisdiction they are going to film and a similar export / re-import permit to enable them to return home after the shoot.In certain circumstances (depending on the destination and the animal involved) it may be necessary to have a permit from the State Veterinarian to move an animal.If the export / import crosses international borders then the animals will need Veterinary permits as well as CITES import/export permits (Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species). Enquiries for inter-Provincial and International CITES permits in KZN can be made to:

KZN - Wildlife (www.kznwildlife.com)

PO Box 662, Pietermaritzburg 3200

Tel: 27 33 845 1324

Fax: 27 33 845 1747


Animal Welfare

The two laws, which protect animal welfare and govern the use of animals in film in South Africa are:
ANIMALS PROTECTION ACT (NO. 71 OF 1962) - An Act to consolidate and amend the laws relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals
PERFORMING ANIMALS PROTECTION ACT NO 24 OF 1935 An Act to regulate the exhibition and training of performing animals and the use of dogs for safeguarding.

The Performing Animals Protection Act (PAPA) states:

"No person shall exhibit or train or cause or permit to be exhibited has the lawful custody or use any dog for safeguarding unless such person is the holder of a licence".
It is a legal requirement that an animal trainer, with a valid license covering the envisaged animal action as well as the appropriate quantity & species, must be present whenever animals work on films anywhere in South Africa.
Both Acts can be downloaded at the AACL website satis.co.za


Monitoring by NGO's:


Since August 2017 it is a legal requirement to monitor the welfare of animals in the making of a film or commercial in South Africa. Monitoring under the indirect supervision of the PAPA licensing officer requires you to involve an animal welfare inspector (AWI) employed by an animal welfare NGO (Animal Anti-Cruelty League, SPCA or NSPCA, etc.) The AWI must be authorised by a Magistrate in terms of section 8 of the Animal Protection Act. The authorised AWI has to report all monitoring to the PAPA licensing officer in order to fulfil the legal requirement.


There is no legal obligation on the part of the Production Company to get script approval or storyboard approval from any animal welfare NGO, but an NGO should be notified of a planned shoot in order to book an authorised AWI to monitor the shoot.
It is a sensible measure and widely recognised that the presence of an animal welfare monitor does serve a very useful role that is often insisted upon by international clients. It protects animals and safeguards trainers and the Production from unfounded allegations of animal mistreatment.


For AACL monitoring contact Inspector Rulof Jackson : 082 892 2776

AACL Head Office, PO Box 7

Rosettenville 2130, GAUTENG.

Telephone 011 435 0672 / 4

Fax 011 435 0693.

Production Companies are expected to cover the travel and accommodation costs of such Inspectors and to make a donation based on the number of called days supervised.