Animal wranglers are accusing Peter Jackson and Warner Bros of negligence that caused the deaths of 27 animals during the filming of The Hobbit. The wranglers say the animals used in the film were being kept at some dangerous, Saw-esque torture farm that they actually called “a deathtrap” in the AP report. Jackson, meanwhile, says many of the deaths in question were from “natural causes.” And if boredom is considered a natural cause, being on the set of The Hobbit in New Zealand for a year definitely seems like something that would do it. Yadda yadda yadda, PETA will be protesting all the premieres.
The Associated Press spoke to four wranglers who said the farm near Wellington was unsuitable for horses because it was peppered with bluffs, sinkholes, broken-down fencing and other “death traps.”. They said they repeatedly raised concerns about the farm with their superiors and the production company, owned by Warner Bros., but it continued to be used. They say they want their story aired publicly now to prevent similar deaths in the future.
The American Humane Association, which is overseeing animal welfare on the films, says no animals were harmed during the actual filming. But it also says the wranglers’ complaints highlight shortcomings in its oversight system, which monitors film sets but not the facilities where the animals are housed and trained.
One wrangler said that over time he buried three horses, as well as about six goats, six sheep and a dozen chickens.
Because he’s crazy! He tried to bury an entire team of live oxen until we tied him to a tree, where he shouted “but the gnomes need them to plow!” until he passed out.
The wranglers say two more horses suffered severe injuries but survived.
Wrangler Chris Langridge said he was hired as a horse trainer in November 2010, overseeing 50 or so horses, but immediately became concerned that the farm was full of “death traps.” He said he tried to fill in some of the sinkholes, made by underground streams, and even brought in his own fences to keep the horses away from the most dangerous areas. Ultimately, he said, it was an impossible task.
My take away from this is that a hole in the ground can be considered a “death trap” for horses, who are incapable of watching where they’re walking. “What, you can’t just put a cliff at the end of the farm and expect the horse not to run off it, it’s a horse! They’re nothing but majesty and sawdust brains, like Maxim models! ”
He said horses run at speeds of up to 30 mph and need to be housed on flat land: “It’s just a no-brainer.”
The first horse to die, he said, was a miniature named Rainbow.
I know that’s very sad, but a mini-horse named Rainbow is hilarious. FACT. I hope the guy kept a wallet-sized picture of Rainbow frolicking in the snow, and whenever he had second thoughts about risking his job security to blow the whistle on these violations, he took out the picture, balled his hand into a fist and whispered, “This one’s for you, Rainbow.”
Swear to God, I found this picture five years ago and named it “Magical Rainbow Pony.”