Skip to Main Content

Lawsuit Reveals Never-Before-Seen Pictures of Dead Animals From ‘Luck’ and ‘The Hobbit’: HBO and American Humane Association in Hot Seat

Written by Michelle Kretzer | August 15, 2013

HBO and the American Humane Association (AHA) wanted to keep animal injuries and deaths on the set of the show Luck and other productions quiet, but one former AHA staffer is blowing their cover—and saying that animal injuries and deaths on sets happen too frequently. And allegedly, she has the grisly photos to prove it. Barbara Casey is a former AHA employee who worked on the set of HBO’s now-canceled horseracing drama, Luck. According to the wrongful termination lawsuit that she has filed, Casey was terminated after she balked at her employer’s instructions to ignore animal safety standards in order to save time and money. Casey is suing the AHA, HBO, and the show’s production company, Stewart Productions, alleging that they all willfully allowed horses to be abused and attempted to cover it up. HBO tried to get itself released from the lawsuit, but it was about as lucky as the horses on set. Casey’s lawsuit states that the companies’ negligence led to the deaths of four horses—one more than previously reported.

Mark’s Shadow, killed on the set of Luck, according to the lawsuit

Casey’s complaint describes several other disturbing instances in which the AHA’s lack of concern for animal welfare led to horrific injuries and even deaths. Twenty-seven animals were killed during the making of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but the AHA still slapped a familiar message at the end of the film: “American Humane monitored all of the significant animal action. No animals were harmed during such action.” The photos appear to prove otherwise:

Injured horse on the set of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, according to the lawsuit

Because of the conflict of interest that results from the fact that the AHA is supported by the film and television industry, the trademark “no animals harmed” assurances seem to be little more than empty promises. The only truly cruelty-free films are those in which no animals are used, period.

Commenting is closed.
  • Molly says:

    The word is “disgusting,” what people do to animals without even giving it a second thought.
    Whether it’s for money or just for their own way of dealing with frustration, taking it out on beautiful innocent animals!

  • Thomas Lee Boles says:

    Maybe Hollywood is like politicians. The only assurance they’re not lying is to see their lips aren’t moving.

  • How cruel and barbaric!!! My family loves watching movies with animals in it and I honestly never knew that this disgusting inhumane act was going on. I am sick to my stomach. The Hobbit is one of our favorite movies and now I have to burn the DVD. Signed & Shared
    May all the innocent animal victims souls RIP.

  • Darren says:

    Shocking, I imagine they would treat all employees like these horses if they didn’t have a voice!

  • ceri says:

    that discusting what about animal rights hey
    was going to watch them not going to bother now more like send them a message in stead

  • Jami says:

    wow.. this is horrible.. it just proves who you can and cant trust with the ‘no animals were harmed during filming..’ and all that. just sad that those animals had to go through all that suffering just for a film to be made.

  • When money plays a part then all rules fly out the window. It’s disgusting that such little care is taken over a life.

  • Claire says:

    Really wish I’d known this before I went to see the first Hobbit film. I won’t be going to see the next 2 that is for sure – this is disgusting!! I thought that this sort of thing stopped happening and there was tighter animal welfare in place after the pony was killed accidentally on the set of The Neverending Story???

  • Carly says:

    Things like this need to be exposed!! Discusting that animals are still dying in this day and age in the name of entertainment! Shocked!!

  • Carol says:

    Boycott the film.

  • I am appalled and disgusted

  • Shame on the people who allowed these animals to suffer in this way. Their names should be made public and they should be prosecuted.

  • Suzanne McDonald says:

    That’s a complete & utter disgrace …poor horses.. They all must have suffer by mans hands… This should never happen in these times especially what they can do with special effects..

  • Mikaela Brown says:

    My gosh – another sad statistic – I hope that by this being out in the open it can help to stop it happening time and time again!!!!!

  • Lynne Holbrook says:

    This is disgusting. Why are they allowed to state that no animals have been harmed and abuse injure and kill them!!

  • patricia law says:

    now that i have seen this i will not be watching this film ,no way should any animal be harmed making any film just so they can fill their pockets , i am disgusted that this goes on and hope this is brought onto the tv media so it can be stopped, the injures that are shown are horrific and if that was jo public they would be prosecuted and banned from keeping any animal so bring it on and do something to stop this NOW

  • Andrew Bechard says:

    I’ve never seen the Hobbit and I never will!


  • Mary M. says:

    The mighty green dollar will by freedom for the guilty, heads to look the other way and mouths to remain shut…….sad but true. How tragic that animals have to die so Hollywood can make an extra buck….. Shame on the actors for not walking off the set when the first animal was killed……oh that’s right….$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ comes first. AHA will no longer receive my donations.

  • Simmo says:

    Stop using animals for so-called entertainment. In this day and age it is not necessary.

  • Fran Bryerton says:

    All of these animals that died on sets for entertainment was so senseless. Their lives have to be worth more that what they have been used for. Why are human societies not doing more to protect these innocent animals? Shame on all of you for contributing to these deaths for money. And we have the nerve to call ourselves human.

  • Jessica says:

    I contribute to many animal organizations but stopped donations to AHA years ago as there were reports of negligence on their part to appease the movie industry that supports them. A true animal welfare organization needs to replace AHA to prevent and stop injuries and deaths of animals used for film industry or entertainment.

  • Carter says:

    Truly horrific. Those of you who made money and alloed this to happen SHAME ON YOU1

  • Carleen says:

    It’s just horrible the way folks make a buck. It will haunt the ones who caused such misery. God Bless the Beasts and the Children.

  • C Quast says:

    I was led to believe that the AHA was always looking out for the welfare of animals, especially in the entertainment industry! How can a person really trust an organization that “goes back on it’s word(s)”? As far as my trust for AHA it has gone away. I will never believe what I hear or see from them when they say they are there for the animals! They should be ashamed of being hypocrites!

  • DAWN WOOLF says:

    I am absolutely sickened by the mentality of mankind who live on greed and fame at the expense of living animals. The world is not a circus anymore and with todays technology why can’t you make films without real living animals. You wouldn’t do this to the actors. Casey I hope to god you win your case for all these poor animals because at the moment you are their only voice for the future to be changed. (Blimey I wrote all this without ‘cussing’ I’m so mad about this)

  • Atiye says:

    Love Animals!