According to a statement released by representatives of distributor Halo-8 Entertainment, Curtis Johnson's documentary Your Mommy Kills Animals has been pulled by "several" retailers, including Internet giant Amazon.com, in advance of its scheduled release date yesterday. The doc examines the animal rights movements. The statement quotes an unnamed retailer who claims that this is "due to legal threats from a well-known Washington lobbyist who represents major corporations in the tobacco and food industries." Matt Pizzolo, President of Halo-8 Entertainment, stated: "Our understanding is that there is no legal restriction on the film whatsoever and some retailers are buckling under threats that have no legal basis."

Cinematical has confirmed that Your Mommy Kills Animals does not appear on the Amazon.com web site. We asked for a comment from Amazon and received the following response from Patty Smith, Director of Corporate Communications for Amazon.com: "Our understanding is the film is subject to active litigation between the parties, and as a result we removed it from our catalog as per our usual practice when we receive notice of an allegation of copyright violation. We are in the process of investigating whether in fact, that dispute still exists. If the matter has been resolved, and the seller has been given the rights to sell the title, we'll happily list it on our site."

Asked for further comment, a Halo-8 representative told Cinematical that the DVD had been ranked #21 for political documentaries when Amazon received a Cease & Desist order and made the decision to remove the title, canceling all pre-orders. The Halo-8 representative also said that Your Mommy Kills Animals had been booked for a one-week run at the Laemmle Grand theatre in Los Angeles in September, but that the booking was canceled at the last minute due to receiving a Cease & Desist order. The rep provided links to reviews in the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly for the week (and theater) in question, and says that other festivals and theaters, as well as Halo 8 Entertainment itself, had received Cease & Desist orders. Other online retailers, such as Best Buy, Circuit City and DVD Empire, have product pages for the DVD, though availability differs; for example, Netflix lists it with "unknown" availability.The DVD is available for direct order from Halo-8.

Your Mommy Kills Animals played the festival circuit and was picked up for distribution by Halo-8 after selling out screenings at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal. It received a theatrical release this past summer; Nick Schager began his review: "Those on both sides of the animal rights issue will find much to fume over"; he called it an "in-depth, eye-opening examination of the movement, dubbed in 2005 by the FBI as the nation's number one domestic terrorist threat." My review of the DVD release was slightly delayed but will be posted later today.