The Hobbit: Unexpected Cruelty
When The Hobbit is released in December, audiences will see an adventure story set in a fantasy world. For the animals involved in the filming, however, the abuse and neglect that they experienced were far too real. Recently, PETA gave the Associated Press the exclusive on the reported animal death toll. In all, five horses, a pony, and several goats, sheep, and chickens were allegedly maimed or killed.
According to whistleblowers from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the following occurred:
• A horse named Shanghai 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.
• One horse was killed and another horse was injured after being placed with two highly strung geldings, despite concerns that the geldings would be too aggressive.
• Another horse was killed after falling off an embankment in a severely crowded paddock.
• When the horses were moved to the stables, another horse died after being fed large amounts of food that he wasn't used to. The horse had shown signs of colic, an extremely painful illness.
• When the horses were moved back to the paddocks after this incident, another horse had the skin and muscles of her leg torn away by wire fencing.
• Several goats and sheep died from worm infestations and from falling into the sink holes that covered the farm.
• Numerous chickens were mauled and killed by unsupervised dogs or trampled by other animals when left unprotected.
How can something like this happen when the unit production manager was warned and the production was monitored by the AHA?! Furthermore, this movie was directed by Peter Jackson, a master at computer-generated imagery (CGI). In a movie that features CGI dragons, ogres, and hobbits, CGI animals would have fit in perfectly. Jackson could have made The Hobbit without using a single animal—and he should have.