Who we are

Consultant and founder of The AWC, Jody Gordon, spent nearly 20 years working for the UK’s largest animal welfare charity, the RSPCA. During that time he spent over 10 years researching, developing and co-writing the RSPCA’s ‘Guidelines for the Welfare of Performing Animals’. He was the performing animal consultant on a number of high profile productions including the London Olympics Opening Ceremony, Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie Saves Our Bacon’ and 'Jimmy & Jamie’s Food Fight' for Channel 4, ITV'S 'Touch of Frost', ITV2’s ‘Top Dog Model’ and many more including television, advertising, theatre and live events.

As an Inspector in the RSPCA's Special Operations Unit Jody's duties consisted of gathering intelligence and investigating serious and organised animal cruelty including cruelty in zoos, circuses, pet shops and breeding establishments as well as dog-fighting, badger baiting and illegal importation of dogs.

Animal Welfare Advice. Delivered by Independent Experts in Association with the

RSPCA
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‘I rarely give an open reference because I feel generally that they are worth less than a direct approach. When it comes to Jody, I’ll make an exception. He and I worked alongside each other for many years in the RSPCA. Jody excelled in his role in the Special operations unit, dealing with some of of the most difficult and distressing cruelty cases imaginable. At the same time he led and developed the RSPCA’s Film and Television Unit impeccably. His production unit knowledge and performance is second to none. He is entirely focused on achieving high production values without ever compromising animal welfare in production. If you want the best.... it’s Jody.

If you require a more formal reference, I would be more than happy to hear from you. ‘

Tim Wass MBE – Animal Welfare Consultant
Former Chief Officer Inspectorate – RSPCA

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‘I had the pleasure of working alongside Jody during his time with the RSPCA Special Operations Unit. During that time Jody demonstrated a first class technical knowledge of Animal welfare legislation, his drive and determination saw him investigating some of the worst perpetrators of Animal Crime, from Dog fighting through to high volume Puppy trafficking across Europe, Jody has tackled them all.

Jody was at the forefront of developing the RSPCA response to the monitoring of animals in performance, his expert knowledge enabled the RSPCA to establish an effective process by which to Inspect and monitor any situation where Animals are being used for entertainment. Through Jodys leadership this team still continues to ensure Welfare standards are being met for Hundreds of Animals each year.’

Chief Inspector Ian Briggs
RSPCA Special Operations Unit

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Case Study

Animals of Manchester – Manchester International Festival

Animals of Manchester was a Live Art experience that explored what life might be like if dogs, cows, pigeons, squirrels and other creatures lived alongside us as our peers – our companions. There was absorbing activities, workshops and encounters in the Whitworth galleries and Whitworth Park. There was a palace for mice and for humans, a film studio run by beetles, a hedgehog hospital, a conference of animals led by cows, living memorials for extinct species, a Bestiary Beauty Parlour and a Life Art Library honouring animals as artists and performers.

TheAWC’s role was to provide advice and guidance to ensure the welfare of the animals. This included visiting contributors, setting guidelines for applicants wanting to bring animals, sourcing a vet to attend, meeting organisers and curators to help them understand their obligations and to attend on the days of the exhibition to ensure things were in place to protect the animals, the staff and the public.

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Case study

All Creatures Great & Small

This drama series was re-telling of the classic stories of James Herriot, adapted for television in 2020. The show revolves around a trio of veterinary surgeons working in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s. During the series a young James Herriot leaves Glasgow and joins Siegfried Farnon’s practise in the fictional village of Darrowby and is joined by Siegfried’s younger brother Tristan and the house keeper Mrs Hall. James and his colleagues have to deal with a number of sick and injured animals, including cows, calves, a bull, a Pekingese dog, cats, rabbits and horses as well as animals in the village fair and at the local racecourse.

TheAWC’s role was to provide advice and guidance to ensure the welfare of the animals. This included visiting contributors, setting guidelines, attending script review meetings with producers and directors, attending location recces and production meetings. A consultant was also present for a number of filming days to provide guidance for animal use and advise on bio-security measures required for movement on and off of farms as well as movement of farm animals.

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Case study

Spring at Jimmy’s Farm

A documentary about ‘Jimmy’s Farm & Wildlife Park’ owned by Jimmy Doherty. The 4 part series followed how the farm and wildlife park was coping in lockdown and the improvements being made to the farm as well as the breeding, births, upkeep and deaths of some of the animals.

TheAWC’s role was to provide post production edit review to ensure the voice over and commentary was factually correct and highlight any welfare issues that may have been missed by the production team. Due to covid restrictions, this role was home-based and the rough cut was sent securely prior to broadcast date.

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Case study

Urban Mutt Hotel

The Urban Mutt Hotel is a custom-built dog hotel and doggy day-care centre that has state-of-the-art facilities, the best grooming treatments, cosy Sleep Huts, dog walking, training and puppy facilities based in the heart of London. It is a licensed boarding and day-care establishment with a dog grooming parlour.

TheAWC was contracted to write and prepare the policies and procedures required in the application of the licenses. These included an Animal Welfare policy, Socialisation and Enrichment policy, a Health and Welfare policy, a Dog Transport policy and a Staff Training policy as well as providing some templates for supporting documentation. Some of these policies can be viewed on their website at urbanmuttshotels.com in the ‘our policies and procedures’ link.

Clearcast Guidelines for animal use in advertising

Animals need to be properly looked after and cared for when used in advertisements. Clearcast will seek assurances that all animals are well treated and unharmed during filming; we may also ask for written confirmation from a qualified veterinary surgeon or animal handler [or animal welfare consultant] to attest to the well-being of animals on set*. How animals are depicted is also important. Showing animals dressed up may cause offence to animal lovers and could encourage emulation by children. Scheduling restrictions are usually imposed on such advertisements to ensure they are not transmitted when young children are likely to be watching. 

*TheAWC can provide this following attendance at filming