Hobbit animals died of natural causes

2012-11-20 17:24
Wellington - Producers on The Hobbit film series and the production company have said that some of the animals that died during the shooting of the film series, had died of natural causes.

Matt Dravitki, a spokesperson for the trilogy's director Sir Peter Jackson, has come out to acknowledge the deaths, but has said that some of the animals had died from natural causes.

Four wranglers working on the film allege that horses, goats, chickens and one sheep died at a farm near Wellington, New Zealand where they were housed for the movies because the facilities were filled with bluffs, sinkholes and other "death traps".

The crew members insist they repeatedly raised concerns about their farm with their superiors and the Warner Bros-owned production company but the facility continued to be used.

While the American Humane Association (AHA), which oversees the animal welfare of the films, said no animals were harmed during filming, they admit some of the deaths were "needless and unacceptable" but they have no power to monitor facilities where the beasts are housed and trained.

'Those deaths were avoidable'

However, Dravitki agreed that the deaths of two horses were avoidable, and said the production company moved to improve conditions after they died.

"We do know those deaths were avoidable and we took steps to make sure it didn't happen again," he said.

He also stressed the farm is no longer used by the company and that the director himself had adopted three of the pigs used in filming.

Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are now planning protests at the New Zealand, US and UK premieres of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

"We want to send a clear message to Hollywood that they need to be very careful when using animals and take all the precautions that need to be taken," Kathy Guillermo, a senior vice president at PETA said.


  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-11-20 17:33

    The animal died naturally felling into a ditch

  • mandy.robinson.5074 - 2012-11-20 18:12

    I would love for them to define "natural deaths", just shows that the AHA is a farce! Yeah right, "no animals were harmed during the making of this movie, but we did kill a view in the name of entertainment and money!"

  • Jean-Pierre Wolf - 2012-11-20 21:54

    Yeah....not getting my $'s to watch this film :(

  • donnae.bowley - 2012-11-21 09:33


  • censor.shipmuch - 2012-11-24 10:26

    1) 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. ....

  • censor.shipmuch - 2012-11-24 10:27

    2) ... 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.

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