PETA renews calls for Hollywood to replace animals with CGI
Amazon’s television series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has come under fire after a horse died during rehearsals for a season 2 scene in the UK.
The horse was one of about 30 on set that day and died of cardiac arrest on 21 March, the studio confirmed.
According to Amazon Studios, following the incident, everyone was asked to leave the set for 30-45 minutes while the horse’s body was removed. Work resumed after that.
The American Humane Association and a veterinarian were present at the time of the incident,
“We are deeply saddened to confirm that a production horse has passed away,” an Amazon Studios spokesperson said in a statement.
“The incident took place in the morning while the horse was being trained prior to rehearsals. The trainer was not in costume, and filming had yet to begin.
“The independent autopsy confirmed that the horse died of heart failure.”
All the horses used in the second season were provided by ‘The Devil’s Horsemen,’ owned by horsemasters Daniel and Camilla Naprous and their father Gerard.
The horse suppliers have worked on several TV series and movies, including Game of Thrones and The Crown, as well as Hollywood productions such as Justice League and Transformers.
This is the first known horse fatality in the 50-year history of the company.
‘Stop ruling over animals’
Following the news, vegan charity PETA released a statement condemning the use of live animals on set and calling for the show to “stop ruling over animals.”
“It seems that living underground with the orcs is normal for the producers of Power Rings because they have the ability to use CGI, mechanical rigs, and other humane methods that don’t kill vulnerable horses on set,” senior vice president Lisa Lange said.
“PETA appeals to the creators of the show — and all other producers—to embark on a new quest without using real horses. If they can’t avoid exploiting animals for their art, they need to find a new medium, because no one wants a TV spin-off with a torment theme.”
The organisation has repeatedly called for the end of using real horses in films, saying that they should be replaced by computer graphics.
Animal cruelty instances in the entertainment industry
This latest incident isn’t the only time The Lord of the Rings franchise has been called out for its treatment of live horses.
In 2012, whistleblowers reported 27 deaths and numerous incidents of cruelty and neglect during the filming of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The cases included horses passing away due to injuries sustained on set, one horse being tied up and left on the ground for three hours, goats and sheep dying from worm infestations, and animals being trampled and drowned.
A horse’s death on the set of The Gilded Age last year was yet another example of animal cruelty.
In 2021, Netflix was forced to cut a scene from director Nicolas Winding Refn’s Danish series, Drive, after a whistleblower informed animal rights campaigners that a pig had been shot and killed for it.
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