May in animal news: Five questions with American Humane animal safety representative Gina Johnson
This month, we're introducing a new feature here at Unleashed: Five questions with prominent members of the animal-protection community. Gina Johnson, who monitors film and TV shoots involving animal actors to ensure that "No Animals Were Harmed" as an animal safety representative at the American Humane Assn., took our questionnaire. Here's her take on the biggest news in the animal kingdom in May and what American Humane will be up to in June.
Gina Johnson: In the animal world the biggest news has been the release of undercover video exposing horrific abuse to farm animals on a dairy farm in Ohio. American Humane's Certified Farm Animal program is at the forefront of the fight against animal cruelty by ensuring the humane treatment of farm animals.
Unleashed: What were American Humane's biggest projects in May?
Johnson: Every May since 1915 American Humane celebrates the human-animal bond with our annual Be Kind To Animals Week. All across America, people come together to support the message of kindness and compassion for all of the animals with whom we share our lives and the Earth.
Unleashed: What will American Humane be working on in June?
Johnson: American Humane has begun a comprehensive 3-year feline awareness program to build a better understanding and connection with the No. 1 pet in America -- the cat! And with June being American Humane's annual Adopt-A-Cat month it's the perfect time for everyone to become more cat-aware.
Unleashed: How can interested animal lovers help in June?
Johnson: How about adopting a wonderful, loving cat from your local shelter? Cats all across the nation are in dire need of homes and they provide excellent companionship for almost anyone. If you can't adopt, think about volunteering at your local shelter to give a little special love to potential pets in need.
Unleashed: What led you to become involved in the animal-protection movement?
Johnson: My mom says I came out of the womb loving animals and I had horses, dogs, cats, hamsters, fish and whatever other pets my parents would let me have. Before coming to American Humane's Film & Television Unit as a Certified Animal Safety Rep, I had 22 years as a veterinary technician with a Northern California wild animal park and then the Baltimore Zoo. As an animal and film lover I always noticed the No Animals Were Harmed end-credit when I went to the movies and for the last 10 years I've gotten to be one of the fortunate animal professionals responsible for it!
Gina Johnson is a Certified Animal Safety Representative with the American Humane Assn., which monitors the safety of animals in film and TV, among other works related to both child welfare and animal welfare.
Photo: Johnson with "Marley" during the filming of the movie "Marley & Me." Credit: American Humane