Target: Production Company of “The Hobbit”
Goal: Provide safe housing for animals used on film sets
Fortunately, while no animals were harmed during the making of the popular up-and-coming trilogy “The Hobbit,” dozens were injured and killed after the film’s production company negligently housed its set animals in a dangerous landscape. Horses, sheep, and goats tumbled down steep bluffs, and “death traps” such as sinkholes claimed the lives of numerous others.
The first victim of negligent housing was a miniature pony named Rainbow who was used as a “hobbit horse” in the films. Early on, he fell down a bank and broke his back. He was still alive when the wranglers found him, but later was euthanized due to the severity of the injury. Other animals suffered similar fates, and due to staff negligence, a dozen chickens were mauled by dogs.
A few spokespeople for Peter Jackson, the trilogy director, have recently come forth and acknowledged the many deaths that occurred on their watches, but stated that some died from natural causes. One spokesman also said that the death of the first two horses were “avoidable” and claimed that the company quickly responded to the tragedy by increasing safety measures and worked to prevent future deaths. Future deaths, however, continued after the supposed (and vague) precautions were taken. Wranglers claimed that the “natural causes of death” were actually the result of poor feed that bloated the animals’ intestines. While many more voiced concerns over the current housing system, the production company continued to use the property to house hundreds of animals.
One wrangler, Chris Langridge, tried to improve the housing conditions himself. He attempted to fill in sinkholes and fence off the areas most deadly to the animals, but quickly found that it was “an impossible task.” He said that most creatures, especially horses, need to run at high speeds in open areas, and that they should always be housed on flat land: “It’s just a no-brainer.” He even wrote an email to the production manager outlining his concerns but after a brief request for more information, never received a further reply. By the time the production company complied with standards set by the American Humane Association, it was too late for the dozens of animals whose deaths could easily have been prevented.
Demand that Hollywood comply with AHA standards throughout the entire filming of its productions. One death due to housing negligence is unacceptable and should be punishable by law. Sadly, this production company reacted too slowly to animal deaths, and did too little to mitigate the hazards of the animal housing.
Dear Production Company members of “The Hobbit” film,
While your films are as commendable as they are entertaining, no animal should suffer injury or death due to the poor housing system that your company employed during the filming of this popular motion picture. It is unacceptable that dozens of animals died due to negligence and inappropriate housing conditions. A landscape filled with bluffs and sinkholes is no place to keep horses, sheep, and goats, or any animal that requires flat land and a spacious area to roam.
Because of this oversight, horses tumbled to their deaths, sheep and goats were killed by treacherous sinkholes, and chickens were even mauled to death by dogs because staff were unprepared to properly care for and house these animals. I demand that you comply with American Humane Association standards from the beginning of production to the very end. One case of negligence that results in animal death is unacceptable. Please do a service to animals in the future and protect them from harm if you wish to use them in your films.
[Your Name Here]