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


Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

    Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


    Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

    Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news