Peter Jackson Denies 27 Animals Died From Mistreatment During Hobbit Filming
Peter Jackson and the producers of the upcoming Hobbit trilogy are denying a report that claims nearly 30 animals died from mistreatment during production of the highly-anticipated movies.
On Monday, the Associated Press reported that 27 animals died due to unsafe conditions on a New Zealand farm where they were kept while not on set in 2010 and 2011.
The story quotes several animal handlers who claim their complaints about the conditions went unaddressed.
A spokesperson for Jackson confirmed to the AP that some horses, goats, chickens and one sheep did, in fact, die on the farm — but the director and his producers are now refuting the severity of the allegations, including the number of deaths.
FULL STATEMENT BELOW
“The producers completely reject the accusations that twenty seven animals died due to mistreatment during the making of the films,” a statement reads.
It continues, “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.”
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is slated to hit theaters next month.
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STATEMENT FROM PETER JACKSON & THE HOBBIT PRODUCERS
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.
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. Over fifty five per cent of all shots using animals in The Hobbit are in fact computer generated; this includes horses, ponies, rabbits, hedgehogs, birds, deer, elk, mice, wild boars, and wolves.
The American Humane Association (AHA) was on hand to monitor all use of animals by the production. No animals died or were harmed on set during filming.
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.