27 Animals Died During the Production of 'The Hobbit'

Posted by Christy Caplan
Hobbit Animal Abuse
Instagram/Peter_Jackson

Were the deaths of 27 animals avoidable? We learned today that animals were neglected during the production of 'The Hobbit'. This is not new news but we wanted readers to know what happened as there were varying points of view.

The Associated Press reported that 27 animals housed on the set died while they were filming. Back in 2012, horses, goats, chickens, and one sheep died.

"Peter Jackson's spokesperson acknowledges that horses, goats, chickens and one sheep died at the farm near Wellington, New Zealand, where about 150 animals were housed for the trilogy -- but says some of the deaths were from natural causes."

How did they die?

According to the article, the production company was responsible for the deaths of up to 27 animals, largely because they were kept at a farm filled with sinkholes and other "death traps."

This happened where the animals were housed. The American Humane Association, which oversees animal welfare on all the films, said no animals were harmed during the actual filming. 

A spokesperson said some of these animals died from natural causes.

PETA issued a petition at the time. They also issued multiple statements and asked local authorities to investigate.

"UPDATE (November 26, 2012, 1:00 p.m. Eastern time):Following PETA's release last week of disturbing whistleblower reports of 27 animal deaths during the filming ofThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journeywe have asked authorities in New Zealand, where The Hobbit was filmed, to investigate and pursue appropriate criminal charges if warranted."

The Hollywood Reporter summarized the AP interview and it sounds like conditions were unsuitable for the animals.

"The Associated Press spoke to four wranglers who said the farm near Wellington was unsuitable for horses because it was peppered with bluffs, sinkholes and broken-down fencing. They said they repeatedly raised concerns about the farm with their superiors and the production company, owned by Warner Bros., but it continued to be used. They say they want their story aired publicly now to prevent similar deaths in the future."

We know that Hollywood has canceled shows when they couldn't manage animal welfare issues and it sounds like the production company wasn't at fault but those in charge of housing were responsible.

The Hobbit Trilogy is one of my fave films! This news (even though older news) is absolutely a sign that animal wrangling needs to be a priority in Hollywood when these movie sets have so many animals that 'star' in the movie.

Did you know about this terrible situation? Tell us in the comments below!

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27 Animals Died During the Production of 'The Hobbit'