Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


'The Hobbit' Whistleblowers Report Dozens of Animals' Deaths

For Immediate Release:
20 November 2012

'The Hobbit' Whistleblowers Report Dozens of Animals' Deaths on Set

PETA Plans Protests at Premieres Around the World

Wellington – PETA US has alerted Peter Jackson, director of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, to a slew of animal injuries and deaths on the production's New Zealand set. In its letter, PETA US details allegations from four whistleblowers who worked as wranglers that all these incidents – including the deaths of three horses and numerous sheep, goats and chickens – could have been prevented if Jackson's lead trainer and the head of production had fulfilled their duties and heeded the warnings of several wranglers.

"Two horses were run off embankments and sustained broken necks on the set of The Hobbit, at least one horse was left lying on the ground with his legs tied together for more than three hours, numerous goats and sheep used for the production died from worm infestations and from falling into sinkholes and a dozen unprotected chickens were killed by dogs", says PETA US Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. "Peter Jackson's films have been at the forefront of the special-effects revolution, but this production's decision to use numerous live animals and allow them to suffer needlessly and die takes the entertainment industry a giant and disgraceful step backwards."

Among the whistleblower allegations outlined in PETA US' letter are the following:
• Two horses were run off embankments by other horses in their paddocks and sustained broken necks. One was euthanised, and the other was found dead with her face submerged in a river.
• The production team also allegedly ignored wranglers' concerns over the danger that the animals were in. One wrangler was allegedly fired for expressing his concerns.
• A horse named Shanghai was hobbled (his legs were tied together so that he could not move) on set during a location shoot and left lying on the ground for more than three hours, reportedly because he was too active for his rider to handle. The rope burns on all of Shanghai's legs that resulted from the hobbling were covered up with make-up and fake feathers (long hair on the legs of some horses) for filming. Hobbling is a violation of the guidelines of the American Humane Association (AHA) and an inappropriate way to deal with an energetic horse.
• A horse named Zeppelin died, likely of colic, after his diet was suddenly and drastically changed. The head animal wrangler allegedly declined a necropsy, and Zeppelin was quickly buried on site.
• The production's AHA representative, whose expertise is reportedly in companion-animal medicine rather than equine care, was allegedly inappropriately friendly with the head animal wrangler and dismissive of the concerns of other wranglers. He was not present for many of the animal sequences.

PETA US' letter to Peter Jackson is available upon request. For more information, please visit

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


13/10: 40 Years Since The Māori Land March Arrived At Parliament

Traffic into Wellington came to a standstill as thousands of Māori and Pākehā streamed along the motorway into the capital on 13 October 1975, concluding the Māori land march to parliament. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Werewolf Film: It Follows - Panic In Detroit

Philip Matthews: When you heard last month that Wes Craven had died and you wanted to pay homage, you could have sat down with any one of five of his films that helped reinvent American horror at least three times over three decades... Or you could just have watched one of the greatest recent horror films that would probably not exist without Craven. More>>


Werewolf Music: Searching For The White Wail - On Art Pepper, etc

If the word ‘hipster’ means anything – which it arguably doesn’t – it seems to be more of an impulse than a condition. One always headed for the margins, and away from the white-bred, white-bread mainstream... More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news