Peter Jackson issued a statement today saying that no animals died of mistreatment on the set of The Hobbit.
Jackson issued the statement just a few hours after the Associated Press reported that at least 27 animals were killed while filming the new movie. According to the AP, hundreds of animals were kept in unsafe conditions during filming and at least of dozen of them died.
Jackson said that the report was absolutely false.
“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.”
Jackson continues to say that more than half of the shots involving animals in the movie were computer generated. The animal deaths reported earlier today, however, did not actually take place on camera. Instead, the report states that the animals were kept in squalor conditions near dangerous bluffs, sink holes, and other “death traps.”
The producers of the film released a statement today saying that they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to upgrade stables in 2011. The new accusations, according to producers, come from four wranglers who were dismissed from the film nearly a year ago.
The statement reads:
“The producers of The Hobbit take the welfare of all animals very seriously and have always pursued the highest standard of care for animals in their charge … Any incidents that occurred that were brought to their attention as regards to this care were immediately investigated and appropriate action taken. This includes hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent on upgrading housing and stable facilities in early 2011…. We regret that some of these accusations by wranglers who were dismissed from the film over a year ago are only now being brought to our attention. We are currently investigating these new allegations and are attempting to speak with all parties involved to establish the truth.”
According to USA Today, The American Humane Association oversaw animal welfare during the shooting and did not report any mistreatment.