‘The Hobbit’ Blamed for Animal Deaths

The Hollywood disclaimer that “no animals were harmed during the making of this movie” may have to be altered for the upcoming film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Animal wranglers working on the Hobbit trilogy are blaming the production company for the deaths of up to 27 animals—including horses, goats, chicken, and one sheep—who were reportedly cramped into a decrepit farm where they fell prey to bluffs, sinkholes, and other “death traps.” The American Humane Association, which is monitoring the welfare of 150 animals housed for the Hobbit films near Wellington, New Zealand, said that no animals were harmed during the actual filming process. But it admitted that the wranglers’ complaints highlight the production company’s failure to make sure the facility where the animals are housed and trained was in good condition.