Warner Bros. may love murdering horses even more than HBO.
As reported by the Associated Press, as many as 27 animals may have been killed due to The Hobbit and the production's lax storage of its many horse, goat, sheep, and chicken background actors. Animal wranglers involved in the film have told the American Humane Association that while animal welfare has been seen to on the set, off-set it's a been a different story, with the various livestock being held "at a farm filled with bluffs, sinkholes and other 'death traps'" conducive to killing horses. They also told the AP that they had previously raised concerns about the conditions of the holding farm, owned by Warner Bros., but were ignored.
Detailing just how dire circumstances were, one wrangler claimed that "over time he buried three horses, as well as about six goats, six sheep and a dozen chickens"--especially tragic when you consider he may have been singing a slow, plaintive rendition of "Old MacDonald" as he added the various species to a mass grave that would later provide yet another obstacle for a horse to trip into and die. Another wrangler tells the story of "a miniature [horse] named Rainbow," which sounds pretty cute until the part where Rainbow was left alive but dying of a broken, miniature back after falling off a bank.
A spokesman for The Hobbit has already come forward to claim responsibility for two of the horsicides but claims conditions were improved since, saying, "We do know those deaths were avoidable and we took steps to make sure it didn't happen again," and adding that "some of the deaths were from natural causes." Further refuting the wranglers' claims: how can you pin a couple dozen animal killings on a face like this?