We encourage you to contact us at before filming any instance of animal cruelty.
Filming and photographing instances of animal cruelty are some of the most powerful tools we have as activists to make change for animals. By sharing video, activists are empowered to share with the world instances in which animals are being exploited and have the capacity to educate tens of thousands of people.
Yet this type of activism is not without risk. Laws vary by state as to what is allowable in terms of filming animal exploitation. Caution should be used, and all local laws obeyed. The information provided below is informational only. You should contact local legal assistance in order to determine the legality of your intended investigative work.
1. If you have the option to photograph or video record, always video. Still images can always be collected from a video recording, and the moving image makes it easier for experts to assess the condition of the animals being investigated in order to look for possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act or other governing laws.
2. When filming, keep a low profile. Keep your interactions with your subject matter to a minimum. And be sure to blend in with the crowd or your surroundings.
3. Remember that you are likely not an expert on the subject you are recording. Be careful to collect video that provides a large context for understanding, so that the person assessing your video can have a full picture of what is taking place. Do not zoom in too closely on an animal for extended periods unless you are focusing on a specific injury. The enclosure the animals are kept in, their proximity to humans, and the amount of time they are left unattended may all be other issues of concern.
4. Attempt to take video clips of at least one minute in length when filming an animal in motion.
5. Please keep silent during your videorecording if possible.
6. Keep your image as steady as possible. Jerky images or rapid zooming make videorecordings unusable.
7. We encourage you to submit your videorecordings to CompassionWorks International or another animal advocacy organization for closer scrutiny and follow-up. To submit a recording to CWI, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then consult with experts to determine if further action can be taken.
8. If you have witnessed egregious animal abuse that requires immediate action, please contact local authorities.
9. Do not share your video on social media until professionals have reviewed it for possible action or complaint.