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'The Hobbit' Producers

We're NOT to Blame

For 27 Animal Deaths

11/19/2012 11:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

1119-the-hobbit

As many as 27 animals -- from horses to chickens -- died horrific (and preventable) deaths during the production of "The Hobbit" ... this according to people who handled the animals ... though producers say the number has been grossly exaggerated.

Several wranglers who worked on location in New Zealand have come forward -- claiming horses, sheep, goats and chickens died unnecessarily from 2010 to 2011 because the Wellington farm where they were housed was full of dangerous sinkholes, shoddy fencing, and other "death traps."

According to the wranglers, some of the animals -- mostly horses -- would fall into the sink holes and break their backs. At least one horse had to be euthanized.

The wranglers claim several chickens were unprotected and were mauled to death by dogs ... some of the goats froze to death ... and a horse gashed its leg open on an unsafe fence. Other animals allegedly died from eating bad feed, contracting worms or other forms of negligence.

Two wranglers say conditions for the animals were so bad ... they quit in 2011 and complained to the production company about the situation.

A rep for Peter Jackson admitted two of the horse deaths were avoidable -- but says producers "completely reject" accusations that 27 animals died due to mistreatment.

As soon as producers became aware of the animals' living conditions in early 2011, the rep says they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve them.

The American Humane Association investigated the situation later that year and gave the production a passing grade ... noting that no animals died on the set. 

But the AHA admits their grade only reflected on-set conditions -- and not the animals' housing facilities, which the group admits was subpar.

Jackson -- along with "Hobbit" producers -- issued a joint statement to TMZ saying, "We are currently investigating these new allegations and are attempting to speak with all parties involved to establish the truth."

103 COMMENTS

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16.

nikki    

I live in New Zealand and goats dont freeze do death it isnt cold enough and why didnt the person telling the stories say something when it was happening and not wait untill filming is over ????????

610 days ago
17.

Pimpcessa    

Well, I guess that's another movie I won't see. There's no excuse for this kind of animal neglect.

610 days ago
18.

SKEETOR    

my care barely left 0...

610 days ago
19.

Kowny Krush    

F***ing Hollywood, and the idiots who buy their wares... if the same money spent on the latest junk film or video game each week was instead given to charity, imagine what a wonderful country this would be.

610 days ago
20.

diane    

Pigs

610 days ago
21.

billybob    

Let's boycott that bloody movie...

610 days ago
22.

Tammy    

Was the Wellington Farm like this BEFORE the producers chose it to supply the animals? If yes, then it's not the producers fault and they should've selected a better place. If no, then I don't knwo what to say because I don't see how the producers GIVING the farm money could make it worse. In essence, it's not their fault in either case.

610 days ago
23.

NOT ELMO    

i hear you...

610 days ago
24.

Crimson Fart    

I`m really mad! Reading those statements i realized,that our evolution has ended! I hope that ridiculous trilogy makes no cash, even their fans said that this is gonna suck.

610 days ago
25.

gamepro    

cant wait to see this movie because it shows before the lord of the rings and i do fine it wrong but it wont stop me from going to see the movie

610 days ago
26.

Peter Popoff    

Lets see how many people go to jail like Mike Vick did for this I Bet 0

610 days ago
27.

Fuck Celebrities    

WTF is the American humane association doing in New Zealand? New Zealand has animal rights organizations of their own.

Obviously some people are taking expensive trips on other peoples' tabs.

610 days ago
28.

Daphne Picklecock    

LOL we slaughter millions of chickens everyday just so black people can have their fried chicken diet. So why we supposed to care about a few chickens killed on a film set?

610 days ago
29.

LAgossipwhore    

This is disgusting and shameful. When using animals on a set, filmmakers have the responsibility to ensure their well-being. i hope there are consequences. I definitely won't be seeing the movie.

610 days ago
30.

_][ Character_Assassin ][_    

Are the meat still taco worthy?

610 days ago
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