The American Humane Assn., which oversees the treatment of animals on television and movie sets, has named its first chief veterinary officer and also added a veterinarian to its board of directors.
The moves come in the wake of increased concern from animal rights activists about whether the AHA is being aggressive enough in policing how animals are used in entertainment.
Tapped as chief veterinary officer is Dr. Kwane Stewart, who will also act as the National Director of the association’s Humane Hollywood division and its “No Animals Were Harmed” program. Stewart was most recently the county veterinarian for Stanislaus County in Modesto. Before that to that he spent five years at Vetco Hospital Inc. He will be based in Studio City.
“Through AHA, we will help guide the industry on a transformative path toward ensuring that our beloved animal actors receive the most compassionate care and humane treatment before, during and after their working lives,” Stewart said in a statement.
Joining the board of the AHA is Dr. Marty Becker, who is a frequent contributor to ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Becker, an adjunct professor at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, also still practices at two veterinary hospitals in Idaho.
Last week, the AHA named John Payne its new chairman of the board. Payne held top posts at Mars Global PetCare and Banfield Pet Hospitals. Payne replaced Eric Bruner, who resigned in January amid concerns about financial ties between the AHA and Bruner’s business partner.
The AHA is also going to meet with key members of the Hollywood production community as part of an outreach effort it has launched to boost its own visibility and better educate the industry on safety issues.
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