animal cruelty blog

Content Warning: Animal Cruelty


Caitlin on March 17, 2023

A young boy’s mother is shot dead right in front of him, showing the gruesome scene in detail. His father remains distant while misery and tragedy follows the young boy around. He slowly learns the skills he needs to survive, and finds beauty within his friend group and appreciation for the world around him. When he finally finds love he quickly realises that who he cares most about could suffer the same fate as his poor mother.

Are you wondering what tragic film this is a description of? Maybe you’re thinking this is one to actively avoid?

It might surprise you to learn that this is actually the 1942 Disney classic Bambi. While Bambi is rated G for suitable for general audiences I think a lot of us can relate that this was hard to watch and unforgettable when we were younger.

Animal cruelty is a no-go zone for viewers who find it challenging when animals are hurt and neglected. Even if the story is fictionalised, the series is animated, or there is a "no animals were harmed" standard message shown at the end, it can still be a hard watch. That’s why here at the tari we make sure to signpost in content warnings when animal cruelty is included.

If you watched Bambi today it would likely be a different experience for most viewers. It makes sense that in our old age we are able to understand the reasoning behind the film and the intention to encourage mankind to look after the forest and its inhabitants. That doesn’t mean that other films and series that contains animal cruelty will be an easy watch for us all.

Some very recent popular films have featured animal cruelty in the storyline. The 2023 Oscar-nominated film Triangle of Sadness was rated M (mature audiences) with a warning note for sex scenes, offensive language, animal cruelty, and content that may disturb. The 2022 Oscar winner for best directing, The Power of the Dog, was restricted for 13 years and older with a content warning for animal cruelty and content that may disturb.

There are some really great films out there that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe animal cruelty isn’t something that upsets you personally but it is important to be aware that other people around you have different likes and dislikes, and we need to respect that.

Before pressing play make sure that everyone in the room is comfortable with what you are going to watch. Take a look at the content warning and if it includes ‘animal cruelty’, or anything that doesn’t sit right for anyone in the room, save that one for another time and pick something else. Being in control of what you watch will make viewing experiences much more enjoyable for the whole whānau.

Further reading

Subscribe to our blog

Stay up to date with the Classification Office blog.