Yesterday we reported that 27 animals had met their end in an array of “death traps” on the set of The Hobbit, the victims of which include Rainbow, a miniature horse who broke his back and had to put out of his misery, and several ducks who came into a dangerous confrontation with some dogs (the dogs won). But director Peter Jackson has fought back against such claims, issuing a statement that denies the animal deaths constituted mistreatment. And although the production staff were aware that innocent animals were being bumped off one by one in increasingly horrific ways, considerable funds were devoted to improving their living conditions.
The animal death reports emerged from the mouths of four wrangles who worked on the movie: they claimed that the animals were “kept at a nearby farm filled with bluffs, sinkholes and other death traps,” which is absolutely the kind of description that will give any surviving showbiz animals nightmares. Jackson’s statement went on to say that animals were never used during live action sequences, much to the dismay of those creatures who had been training for such things for most of their careers. “I was absolutely gutted that Peter wouldn’t let me get involved in the fight scenes, but safety is very important,” said a horse in a statement we made up just then.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is out in theatres 14th December 2013. No pets admitted.