Mexican Best Foreign Oscar nominee Love's A Bitch (Amores Perros) is set to receive clearance from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), despite a harrowing and controversial dog fight scene.

The scene, a 21-second, yet pivotal, sequence in the film, was in danger of falling foul of the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act, 1937 which stipulates that animals should not be incited in any way to fight.

Optimum Releasing, which acquired the U.K. rights from the film's international distributor Lions Gate Films International, submitted assurances and evidence from the film's dog handler that the animals were not hurt in any way during the filming. However, as the Cinematograph Act is legally binding and more scrupulous than its continental or US equivalents, the BBFC would have been compelled to uphold the 64-year-old legislation had the sequence been deemed in breach of the act. Last year The BBFC pronounced against some 12 films that were deemed unacceptable on the grounds of animal cruelty.

The decision, which comes at a time when screen content is coming under political fire on both sides of the Atlantic, follows a recent BBFC survey involving over 3000 people which found that most wanted to watch films without excessive intervention. The censor's sanction for Amores Perros also follows recent controversy, notably in Italy and Australia, over the content and certification of Hannibal.

Amores Perros has virtually sold out to more than 30 key international buyers including: Filmax/Spain, Pyramide/France - Benelux, Insituto Luce/Italy, Tokyo Theatres/Japan, Integrated Media/South Korea, CCV as/Scandinavia, Samfilm/Iceland, LNK/Portugal, Shani Films/Israel, Umut Sanat/Turkey, Maywin Media/CIS, and Senator Films for Germany/Austria. Altavista sister distribution company, Nu Vision, owns all rights for Latin America. Lions Gate Films, which picked up U.S. and Canadian rights, has scheduled a domestic release in the spring.