PETA has spoken out against Lord of the Rings film-maker Peter Jackson, alleging the film staff mistreated the animals on set of the highly anticipated The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
PETA reports the death toll to the Associeted Press, saying:
“According to whistleblowers from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the following occurred:
- A horse named Shanghai was hobbled (his legs were tied together so that he couldn’t move) and left on the ground for three hours because he was too energetic for his rider. Afterward, in order to hide his rope burns for filming, his legs were covered with makeup and hair. Hobbling is an outright violation of the American Humane Association’s (AHA) guidelines.
- One horse was killed and another horse was injured after being placed with two highly strung geldings, despite concerns that the geldings would be too aggressive.
- Another horse was killed after falling off an embankment in a severely crowded paddock.
- When the horses were moved to the stables, another horse died after being fed large amounts of food that he wasn’t used to. The horse had shown signs of colic, an extremely painful illness.
- When the horses were moved back to the paddocks after this incident, another horse had the skin and muscles of her leg torn away by wire fencing.
- Several goats and sheep died from worm infestations and from falling into the sink holes that covered the farm.
- Numerous chickens were mauled and killed by unsupervised dogs or trampled by other animals when left unprotected. (Source: PETA)
The Hobbit director Peter Jackson denies the allegations and issued a statement this morning, saying:
“The producers completely reject the accusations that twenty seven animals died due to mistreatment during the making of the films…Extraordinary measures were taken to make sure that animals were not used during action sequences or any other sequence that might create undue stress for the animals involved.”
PETA is urging animal rights activists to send a message to Peter Jackson, as well as asking people not to see the film in an effort to end animal cruelty on film sets.
It all makes me wonder, just how much sacrifice goes into making a good film? PETA even poses the question, why didn’t Peter Jackson – known for using outstanding visual effects in the Lord of the Rings trilogy - craft the animals through CGI like the dragons and other mythical creatures he creates using animation?