Remember how after a cute animal film we saw the phrase: No animals were hurt in the making of this film? Well, with The Hobbit scheduled to premiere this month, that might not be the case. The British website Daily Mail posted this article a few weeks ago explaining the situation. While no animals were hurt during the actual filming, 27 animals died during production. TWENTY-SEVEN! Apparently, the farm where the animals were kept was inadequate and despite the complaints of the wranglers, measures to fix the issues came a little too late.
While the production company did eventually react to the first deaths (by building more suitable housings), more deaths followed. Some deaths were a result of the hazardous environment, others the result of a new feed given to the animals. Unfortunately, The American Humane Association only supervises actual filming sets. The wranglers who were in charge of taking care of the animals, while aware of the dangers, could only do so much to prevent the deaths. Do they hold the responsibility or does it fall into the hands of the filming company? Lamentably, some of the deaths could have been avoided. And while some are quick to point fingers, it is a sad moment in filming history.
This brings the questions: Should the AHA be allowed greater power to act on the animals’ behalf? Should filming companies take more responsibility of the care of animals? I think so, after all, they are making millions in profit. Especially for a film such as The Hobbit, I’m sure they can spare more time to better prepare for the animals’ care.
On a happy note, Peter Jackson adopted three pigs that survived the aftermath of the filming.