Following
PETA’s release last week of disturbing whistleblower reports of 27 animal
deaths during the filming of The Hobbit: An Unexpected
Journey
, we have asked authorities in New Zealand, where The Hobbit was filmed, to investigate and pursue appropriate criminal
charges if warranted.

The
five whistleblowers, all wranglers who worked on the film set, allege the
following:

  • Two
    geldings ran a pony named Rainbow off an embankment in the paddock that they
    were all housed in. The next morning, Rainbow was found still alive and
    suffering, with his
    neck and back broken, and had to be euthanized.
  • A
    horse named Doofus was housed with two geldings even though they had
    already injured the pony. He was subsequently found tangled in the fence, the
    skin and muscles torn from his leg, surrounded by hoofprints that indicated a
    fight.
  • A
    horse named Clare was run over a bank by other horses in her paddock, most
    likely because there was not sufficient space or grass for them all. She was found
    with her neck broken and her head submerged in the river.
  • A
    horse named Zeppelin died suddenly after displaying symptoms of colic, which
    can result from feeding grain to a horse who isn’t accustomed to it. Zeppelin’s
    typical diet was grass and hay, but he was fed grain on the set.
  • A
    horse named Shanghai was hobbled (his legs were tied together so that he couldn’t
    move) and left lying on the ground for more than three hours. The resulting
    rope burns were covered up for filming. Hobbling is a violation of the
    guidelines of the American
    Humane Association (AHA)
    , the agency that monitors the treatment of animals on film and television
    productions.
  • A
    horse named Molly became tangled in wire fencing in her paddock, tearing the
    skin and muscle from her leg.
  • Numerous
    goats and sheep died from worm infestations and from falling into
    sinkholes. 
  • Twelve
    chickens were killed by dogs who weren’t properly supervised.

Reportedly,
the AHA monitor who were
supposed to be ensuring the animals’ safety were overly friendly with the head trainer—who
was himself distracted by other projects—and the AHA was absent for many of the
animal sequences. Allegedly, three horses died before the AHA investigated and
recommended improvements in housing. The wranglers also report that they voiced
their concerns to the unit production manager but were ignored.

In
September, PETA contacted the AHA about reported problems on The Hobbit set, but we’ve yet to receive
a response. PETA wrote to director Peter Jackson to find out what, if anything, he knew about the animals’ deaths during
production. The man who brought us the superb computer-generated imagery (CGI)
that won him our Proggy (for “progress”) Award for King Kong has the ability to make the animals and other interesting creatures in his
movies 100 percent CGI, and PETA calls on him to do so again.

In
the age of Oscar-winning
digital effects, there is no reason why a single animal should suffer for
a film. Join PETA in urging Jackson to continue to use cutting-edge CGI and
give his assurance that no animal will ever suffer again for one of his movies.

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Article source: PETA Files

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