A horse used in the making of 'Hobbit'. Image source: Peta website.

Wranglers say horses, other animals used in ‘Hobbit’ movies died on unsafe NZ farm

Cross-posted from The Washington Post


A horse used in the making of 'Hobbit'. Image source: Peta website.
A horse used in the making of ‘Hobbit’. Image source: Peta website.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Animal wranglers involved in the making of “The Hobbit” movie trilogy say the production company is responsible for the deaths of up to 27 animals, largely because they were kept at a farm filled with bluffs, sinkholes and other “death traps.”

The American Humane Association, which is overseeing animal welfare on the films, says no animals were harmed during the actual filming. But it also says the wranglers’ complaints highlight shortcomings in its oversight system, which monitors film sets but not the facilities where the animals are housed and trained.

The spokesman [for the trilogy], Matt Dravitzki, agreed that the deaths of two horses were avoidable, and said the production company moved quickly to improve conditions after they died.

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says it’s planning protests at the premieres in New Zealand, the U.S. and the U.K. Continue reading >>

Peta reports the following concerning ‘Hobbit’ horses:

Reports of animal neglect coming from whistleblowers include the story of a horse named Shanghai who was hobbled (his legs were tied together so that he couldn’t move) and left on the ground for three hours because he was too energetic for his rider. Afterward, in order to hide his rope burns for filming, his legs were covered with makeup and hair. Hobbling is an outright violation of the American Humane Association’s (AHA) guidelines.

More alleged abuse took place where the animals were housed, with one horse killed and another injured after being placed with two highly strung geldings, despite concerns that the geldings would be too aggressive. Another horse was reportedly killed after falling off an embankment in a severely crowded paddock. Yet another horse died when the horses were moved to the stables, probably from colic, an extremely painful illness, after being fed large amounts of food that he wasn’t used to.

After this incident, the horses were reportedly moved back to the paddocks, where another horse had the skin and muscles of her leg torn away by wire fencing.

It has also been reported that several goats and sheep died from worm infestations and from falling into the sinkholes that covered the farm, and 12 chickens were mauled and killed by unsupervised dogs or trampled by other animals when left unprotected. Read more >>

4 thoughts on “Wranglers say horses, other animals used in ‘Hobbit’ movies died on unsafe NZ farm”

    1. Agreed. And there needs to be some animal oversight group that makes certain the animals are kept in safe conditions. As we all know there are many death traps at a great home, and this sounds totally inappropriate and hobbling a horse rather than training a horse is inexcusable.


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