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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:49 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:31 pm
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A pretty lengthy expose on animal deaths on film sets was just released by the Hollywood Reporter:

The Hobbit is not at the center of this report, but it is mentioned a few times throughout:

A year later, during the filming of another blockbuster, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 27 animals reportedly perished, including sheep and goats that died from dehydration and exhaustion or from drowning in water-filled gullies, during a hiatus in filming at an unmonitored New Zealand farm where they were being housed and trained. A trainer, John Smythe, tells THR that AHA’s management, which assigned a representative to the production, resisted investigating when he brought the issue to its attention in August 2012. First, according to an email Smythe shared with THR, an AHA official told him the lack of physical evidence would make it difficult to investigate. When he replied that he had buried the animals himself and knew their location, the official then told him that because the deaths had taken place during the hiatus, the AHA had no jurisdiction. The AHA eventually bestowed a carefully worded credit that noted it “monitored all of the significant animal action. No animals were harmed during such action.”

Casey alleges that her dismissal is part of a larger pattern in which the organization “kowtows” to the industry, a claim echoed by AHA employees to whom THR has spoken. In her court filings, Casey enumerates repeated incidents of appeasement and collusion. These range from the death of a cow on HBO’s Temple Grandin and the incident involving King the tiger on Life of Pi to the 27 animal fatalities during the production of The Hobbit.

The AHA also has in recent years developed a new category, “Special Circumstances,” for productions on which — either before, during or after shooting — “an unpreventable illness, injury or fatality can occur to an animal” on a monitored set. It’s been given to The Hobbit, Luck and Sony’s Zookeeper.

Or why animals might die in transit after a day of shooting (as occurred with the horse on War Horse, which the AHA says died “in transit home” of “natural causes”) or at a holding facility away from the set (The Hobbit’s fatalities).

Any thoughts?

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