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Animal welfare and charity organizations voice concerns about upcoming movie ‘Argylle’

News
Article

Over 10 United Kingdom organizations are sharing concerns over possibly harmful behaviors shown towards cats in the movie’s trailer

Pixel-Shot/stock.adobe.com

Pixel-Shot/stock.adobe.com

International Cat Care (ICatCare), Cats Protection, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), Battersea, Woodgreen, Blue Cross, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (RSPCA), the Animal Behavior and Training Council (ABTC), the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), and the Pet Industry Federation, all joined forces to express concerns over that the upcoming film ‘Argylle’, based on the book by Elly Conway. The concerns are over increasing popularity of the Scottish Fold cats and potentially harmful behaviors shown towards cats that can be seen in the trailer.

“iCatCare and its veterinary division, the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), believe that it is simply unethical to continue to breed cats with a genetic mutation that is known to cause significant painful disease – the rationale for breeding these cats was purely for traits considered attractive to humans, as some people believe the folded ears look appealing. This is an unnatural appearance for a cat, and the underlying genetic defect has far-reaching and severe consequences for the health of the cat. Health should always be more important than looks,” expressed Nathalie Dowgray, PhD, head of ISFM, in the organizational release.1 

According to the release, the organizations find that the movie features a cat that resembles a Scottish Fold cat, which is known to have serious welfare and health issues, including their distinctive folded ears affecting their joints which can lead to the development of painful arthritis which could begin at a young age.1 The health issues these cats face have also led to countries across the world prohibiting breeding them.

Besides featuring a cat like the Scottish Fold, the film also includes clips of the cat being roughly handled such as picked up by the scruff and thrown from the building. Although the scenes showing the pet being roughly handled are created digitally, the organizations fear that showing these interactions will cause some viewers to believe this is acceptable or entertaining which can negatively impact a cat’s welfare. The film also portrays a cat being carried around and roughly handled.

“Scruffing a cat is an unacceptable form of restraint that can cause a cat considerable discomfort, fear, and even pain, as the weight of its body is completely unsupported, and the cat cannot escape the pressure from its skin being grasped,” said Sarah Ellis, head of cat mental wellbeing and behavior at ICatCare.1

“Backpacks are not a cat-friendly way to transport a cat; they can leave a cat cramped, without enough ventilation, struggling to control body temperature, and uncomfortable due to the unpredictable movement from being worn on a person’s back. Backpacks are simply not cat friendly – they do not respect the cat as a species and run the risk of psychological and physical suffering to the cat.”

The movie is set to be released on February 2, 2024, and the organizations hope that their concerns will create a more open conversation with the media industry and help educate them on the health and well-being of cats regarding their depiction in films. The organizations reached out to Universal Pictures outlining their concerns and encouraging them to consider and adopt Cat Friendly Principles in future films.

Reference

‘Argylle’: Leading animal charities and welfare organizations share concerns for cat wellbeing in new Hollywood movie. News release. January 25, 2024. Accessed January 25, 2024. https://icatcare.org/argylle-movie/

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