So, this is upsetting: word has just gotten out that 27 animals died during the filming of the The Hobbit trilogy, and I’m not talking about rats or frogs, either. Most of them were big, beautiful animals like horses, and small, adorable animals like mini-horses. Sympathetic animals. Popular animals.
According to The Daily Mail, no animals were harmed in the actual making of the film, but many met bad ends at the farm where they were being kept, which contained “bluffs, sinkholes and other ‘death traps.’” This seems like it should still count, no?
The deaths included:
-Rainbow, a miniature horse, who was euthanized after breaking his back by falling off a tall bank. R.I.P. Rainbow.
-Claire, a regular horse who “was found dead with its head submerged in a stream after it fell over a bluff.” R.I.P. Claire.
-Zeppelin, a regular horse who is thought to have died from digestive problems caused by new feed. R.I.P. Zeppelin.
-Six goats and six sheep, who died (respectively) “after they fell into sinkholes, contracted worms or died after getting new feed because all the grass had been eaten.” R.I.P. anonymous goats and sheep.
-24 chickens who were mauled to death (over two separate occasions) by dogs after being left out of their enclosure. R.I.P. nameless chickens.
The animal situation was so bad, in fact, that multiple wranglers quit and/or got fired over it, and the American Humane Association made recommendations to improve the animals’ housing. A spokesman for the film acknowledged that the horses, goats, chickens and sheep had died, but that they really did make a concerted effort to kill fewer animals moving forward: “We do know those deaths were avoidable and we took steps to make sure it didn’t happen again.”
He also added that Peter Jackson himself had adopted three of the pigs used on the movie, which was nice of him, but does nothing to appease the closure-seeking ghosts of the animals who got killed because he stored them at Cruella DeVil‘s Torture Farm. No more animals are being housed there now (that filming has ended) and they’ve vowed to do better in the future, but that won’t bring back Rainbow, Claire, Zeppelin, or any of their nameless chicken, goat and sheep friends.
As punishment, the trilogy will be haunted by angry horse ghosts and PeTA. Weird things are about to start happening at Peter Jackson’s house, and all the rescue pigs in the world will not protect him.