Animal Witness

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Animal Witness TV Poster Image
Animal forensics show has pretty intense content.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

While the show is about animal forensics, it also openly advocates for animal rights. It sometimes uses sensational material to achieve that goal.

Violence

Includes images of dead and/or mutilated animals. Some episodes show violent reenactments and video footage of bloody dog fights and other events. Also includes discussions about animal cruelty (beating, drowning, electrocuting, shooting) and conversations about violent criminal behavior (assault, murder). Some news footage shows angry PETA protestors.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some episodes include references to illegal drug activity, including using and selling marijuana and forcing animals to consume illegal narcotics.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that some episodes of this series -- which demonstrates how animal forensics is used to solve criminal cases -- include disturbing pictures, reenactments, and descriptions of violent animal behavior and animal cruelty. Criminal behavior committed against humans is also discussed. Some of the crimes investigated are linked to drug use. Older viewers interested in forensic science may find the series interesting, but sensitive animal lovers may find some of the content overwhelming.

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What's the story?

ANIMAL WITNESS looks at how forensic science and law enforcement work together to solve crimes. Using firsthand accounts from scientists, law enforcement officials, and animal activists, each episode of the show walks viewers through investigations of capital crimes and other cases while showing how animal forensics was used to find important clues. It also looks at how victimized animals can sometimes be rehabilitated.

Is it any good?

Animal Witness offers some interesting details about how animal forensics plays into investigating crimes ranging from animal poaching and smuggling to capital murder. But it takes a rather sensational approach to telling these stories, using sometimes-violent visual reenactments and disturbing pictures of animal cruelty. Some of the interviews -- especially those with animal rights activists from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) -- also describe some of the horrible ways that animals are abused and killed.

The series' graphic nature is intended to demonstrate the importance of protecting animals. And it may inspire some people to get more involved in animal rights efforts. But some of it is so overwhelming that it can be a turn-off for sensitive viewers. It's not for kids, but teens and adults interested in animal forensics who can handle this kind of content as it relates to science and/or criminology may find it interesting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different ways that animals contribute to criminal investigations. Does the mainstream media usually focus on animal forensics as an important part of solving cases? Why or why not? Families can also discuss animal rights activism. How do you feel about the graphic images and extreme behavior that activists sometimes use to call attention to their cause?

TV details

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