UPDATE: After the death of three horses during filming, HBO’s Luck has announced that it will cease all future production. We applaud HBO’s swift action in drawing the line after three equine deaths. As much as we are fans of the show, the strain and stress of film production has clearly reached a breaking point for the horses involved.
(ANIMAL TV) CALIFORNIA — The filming of the second season of Luck has led to another horse death. The mare allegedly reared then fell on her back while crew members were trying to take her out of her stable, breaking her neck. The HBO team emphasizes that the horse was not injured during filming, however this is the third horse the TV show has euthanized. PETA is one of many animal welfare organizations demanding an investigation, and the American Humane Association has halted all filming involving horses. Read on for the details and why Luck should rethink its use of animal actors. — Global Animal
Ecorazzi, Jennifer Mishler
Last month, the news that two horses had been injured and subsequently euthanized on the set of HBO’s Luck sparked controversy and an investigation by PETA.
Viewers noticed that the show’s credits did not contain the statement from the American Humane Association (AHA) indicating that no animals had been harmed. When PETA contacted HBO, they did not get a response, although HBO has said that they increased safety procedures after the deaths of the two horses and are working with the AHA.
Now, a third accident has resulted in a horse being euthanized on the set of the show starring Dustin Hoffman. According to Contactmusic, a horse fell backwards and broke her neck. A spokesperson from HBO says that the accident occurred while the horse was being returned to the stables, and not during filming. “An American Humane Association certified safety representative was on the premises when the accident occurred, and as always, all safety precautions were in place. HBO and everyone involved with the production are deeply saddened, and are working in full co-operation with the AHA and the CHRB [California Horse Racing Board] to complete their inquiry,” said HBO in their statement.
CHRB’s Equine Medical Director, Dr. Rick Arthur added, “Unfortunately, we see several of these injuries in the stable area every year. They are more common than people realise.”
Last week, though, PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo asked producers to make changes to prevent further incidents. “We are hearing from multiple credible sources that horses are once again at risk on the set of Luck. I urge you to take immediate action today to correct this situation. We understand that there are currently no licensed humane officers on the set. This is inexplicable, unacceptable, and dangerous. While the American Humane Association may have a representative present for filming, this is inadequate. We ask you to return at least one, and preferably more, California licensed humane officers to the set and to ensure that their recommendations about the choice of the horses used and the filming methods are followed to the letter.”
Filming with the animals has now been postponed per an AHA demand. “We are also insisting that this stoppage remain in full effect pending a complete, thorough, and comprehensive investigation,” said the AHA, according to Huffington Post. The show’s horseracing scenes are filmed at California’s Santa Anita Park racetrack.