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American Humane Association praises Steven Spielberg's 'War Horse'

UPI News Service, 12/22/2011 

Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" has earned the American Humane Association's outstanding rating, meaning no animals were harmed while the epic was shot.

The organization said the filmmakers complied with its Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media to ensure the safety of the horses, and fully cooperated with the association's film and TV unit, which logged 1,100 hours on "War Horse" sets in England and California, safeguarding more than 100 horses.

Certified Animal Safety Representative Barbara Carr was present to make sure the horses used in the making of the film were safe and treated humanely.

"I gave Barbara the complete, final cut, so to speak, to pull the plug if she felt any of the horses were not up to the challenge or any of the horses were in any way in harm's way," Spielberg said in a statement.

Spielberg gave Carr input in the planning of stunts or actions the horse had to perform and offered her opportunities to watch rehearsals in slow motion so she could determine whether the animals would be safe, the association said.

The film opens in U.S. theaters Sunday. Set during World War I, it is based on the best-selling book by Michael Morpurgo and the Tony Award-winning stage play by Nick Stafford.

The movie is about the friendship between a horse named Joey and Albert, the young man who tames and trains him. After the war separates them, the pair embark on an extraordinary journey back to each other.

Jeremy Irvine plays Albert in the movie, which is nominated for multiple Critics Choice and Golden Globe awards. It was named one of the best films of 2011 by the American Film Institute.

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