Animal rights group PETA has condemned the use of live animals on TV and movie sets for quite some time now. Recently, the group called out the production of Amazon’s television series ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ after a horse was reported to have died on set.
On March 21st, the horse went into cardiac arrest and died while on set for season two of The Lord of the Rings spin-off show.
“We are deeply saddened to confirm that a production horse died. The incident took place in the morning whilst the horse was being exercised prior to rehearsals,” said a spokesperson for Amazon Studios on Sunday morning.
“The trainer was not in costume, and filming had yet to commence. Both a veterinarian and a representative of the American Humane Association were present at the time. The independent necropsy has confirmed that the horse died of cardiac failure.”
Sources close to the show told Deadline that the horse was standing near 20 other horses when it went into cardiac arrest; more than 30 horses were said to be on set that day.
After the news broke, PETA called out the show for “exploiting animals,” in a call to action for film and TV shows to stop using real animals and opt for CGI technology in their place.
“It seems that living underground with the orcs is par for the course for the producers of The Rings of Power, because they have the option to use CGI, mechanical rigs and other humane methods,” said Peta’s senior vice-president Lisa Lange.
“Peta is calling on the show’s creators – and all other producers – to take on a new quest without using any real horses.”
This is not the first time The Lord of the Rings franchise specifically has been called out by animal rights activists for their use of real animals in their productions.
Back in 2012, director Peter Jackson was under fire for the production of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey after animal wranglers on set reported that three horses and other farm animals had died during the film’s production.
At the time, PETA launched a petition and urged all fans and movie goers to “refuse to see the movies” where animals had been knowingly harmed.
Jackson replied to this petition by stating that the claims that any animals were mistreated were unsubstantiated.
“The production regrets that Peta has chosen to make such a serious allegation, which has distressed many of the dedicated Kiwis who worked with the animals on the film.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.