I started thinking about it further after seeing this video clip - we all thought, it is rather disturbing... on quite a few levels.
Today she drew my attention to the famous diving horses that were popular in the 30's.. particularly in Atlantic City. I confess I had never heard of them! The original horses were diving from 60ft high.
One of the divers was blinded by hitting the water with her eyes open, but continued to do it for many years. Disney even made a movie about her - which was heavily romanticised, but contains interesting footage of how they did the diving...
But on looking around, there are films of horses doing it in the 50's in Miami, and to my amazement, this strange practice is still happening today. Nowadays, they don't have a rider... but I still feel it is exploitation.
I am sure there is footage out there somewhere of the chimpanzee tea parties so often held at zoos.
Animal films and tv programmes have been around since television started... who can forget Lassie, Mr Ed, Flipper, Skippy, The Incredible Journey and Daktari to name just a few I grew up with. However, I imagine the requirements for the use of real animals in filming has altered dramatically since those days!
"No animals were harmed in the making of...."
I guess it depends on how you interpret "harm"?