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Peter Jackson: No Animals Died Due To Mistreatment On ‘The Hobbit’ Set

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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.

Jackson said:

“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.

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3 Responses to “Peter Jackson: No Animals Died Due To Mistreatment On ‘The Hobbit’ Set”

  1. Censor Ship Much

    The person who is most at fault in the animal abuse cases is not Peter Jackson. It is the Animal Coordinator Steve Old.
    He was responsible for leasing that farm which was a hilly sheep farm unsuitable for horses. Several other suitable properties were put forward by the horse trainer that would have cost the same amount.
    He was also responsible for hiring staff that were not qualified to look after horses and vetoed every attempt of the horse trainer to hire suitable staff. He also prevented the horse trainer from making sensible training decisions. He insisted on letting his girlfriend train horses even though she was not qualified to even be riding them and caused many problems with their training when she did ride them. He also insisted on other unqualified people being allowed to ride horses.
    Steve Old also did not put any safe and appropriate training facilities in place. This was because he wanted to ensure he got the job by coming in under the budget outlined by another more qualified Animal Coordinator. He prevented the horse trainer from putting any facilities in place other than those that the horse trainer paid for out of his own pocket.
    Steve Old turned a blind eye to wilful abuse of animals – one case in which his own father was the abuser of a pig. This same person – Les Old – also sexually harassed a female staff member. When she told Steve that Les had groped her Steve fired her.
    Steve used production money and resources on his own private projects such as The Great NZ Trek. He pulled staff members away from caring for the animals on the film and sent them to do work on projects elsewhere during which time they were paid with film money.
    He bullied staff members into keeping quiet about any negative aspects of their work and told them they would be fired if they didn't fall into line.
    The head horse trainer, another horse trainer and other wranglers resigned from the film after two months because their complaints about animal welfare were ignored and were not passed on to people higher up in the chain of command. Emails were sent after they resigned (in Feb2011) detailing everything that was dangerous and needed to be rectified. I understand that these emails have only recently been passed on to Peter Jackson.