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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.

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  • pauline williams says:

    This is disgusting and the people responsible should be made accountable. They make big money out of these films and cannot be bothered to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the animals!!!

  • JOY BROWN says:

    WHWATS WRONG WITH U ASSHOLES, STOP THIS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!

  • christine lawes says:

    wtf really for our entertainment these poor animals suffer …. i am ashamed

  • Debbie says:

    AHA IS NOT DOING THEIR JOB….TO BUSY MAKING MONEY TO LOOK THE OTHER WAY…..NEW EMPLOYEES NEEDED!!!!!!!

  • Darlene Baneky says:

    Those photos are disgusting and those people who are supposed to be taking of those horses not only should be ashamed of themselves, but should never own a horse or an animal ever again. Those pictures should be taken to a judge and jury.

  • Crystal Hambrick says:

    Please stop animal abuse. !

  • Chris Froehlich says:

    Looks like AHA was looking for the golden ring too, weren’t they?

  • Twila says:

    As much as I loved the books and the movies I WILL NEVER GO SEE another movie made by this director. No life of an animal is worth what I just saw in those pictures. In you day of judgement may you feel the pain that all those poor animals felt as they suffered. SHAME ON YOU HUMANE SOCIETY for letting this happen.

  • Sandra Aramburu says:

    ANIMALS ARE VERY IMPORTANT, PLS LETS HELP TO RESPECT THEM

  • Suzanne Parsons says:

    THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! SOMEONE NEEDS TO GOVERN THIS CLOSER AND MONITOR THE SETS!!!!

  • sandra Aramburu says:

    ANIMALS ARE VERY IMPORTANT, PLEASE LETS HELP TO RESPECT THEM!

  • jen says:

    there is no need to be inhumainly treating any animals for the purpose of a movie . if any animals are to be used in movies there should be aspca or humane society people on set . this is rediculous all for money shows how greedy these producers and actors are

  • matt says:

    sick, greedy bastards.

  • Heather says:

    ……our entertainment; it comes down to animal abuse every time, I am SHOCKED.

  • delanghe cindy says:

    steun de paarden <3

  • Brenda Hull says:

    All in the name of entertainment? I would say a protest and boycott should ensue. And may the money won from the suit be used to help abused animal facilities everywhere. We created this horrid mess, now we need to clean up after ourselves. Shame on humanity.

  • VeronicaMTA says:

    movie/tv producers should be hung at best…treated as they did these defenseless animals at worst.

  • Vivienne Ben-Shir says:

    I hope the film companies are being prosecuted and will be fined for millions of $ that they’ll have to donate to animal charities. How does anyone let this happen?

  • Nadia says:

    Why was this happening? So unnecessary. Why was this ok?

  • astrid sunaert says:

    stop using animals in movies

  • M Ashwell says:

    Dreadful and sickening. It just shows what greed does to society and the innocent creatures who suffer because of it.

  • Toni Royer says:

    This is a total outrage! Sue everyone responsible for this catastrophe and take steps to prevent this from happening in the future. Give these idiots what they deserve and make sure they don’t work around animals ever!

  • caroline probyn says:

    DISGUSTING and totally horrific … I will never trust a ‘no animals were harmed in the making this film’ again .. the film-makers should be ashamed … My daughter who was looking forward to wathcing the others, has said she will not now …. you have lost 2 film fans through this and I will spread the message :(

  • Tina Haydamacha says:

    Incredibly tragic that a company with money oozing from the unfortunate sacrifice of innocent beautiful animals,could not afford to protect nor manage safe practices during filming. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR from a multimillion dollar industry.

  • Sang says:

    This is really sad……atleast take care of those animals who are working of you :(

  • Jenalin says:

    WOW, unreal that’s animal abuse and should be taken serious.

  • lola says:

    why ??? stop please…..

  • Eva Last says:

    I love movies, but will never watch the hobbit or luck!! Or any other movie that had abused, hurt or killed animal.

  • Dr.CSBR.Prasad says:

    Shame on you.

  • France Poulin says:

    C’est stupéfiant et totalement indigne de notre industrie cinématographique!!! Il ne faut avoir que le profit en tête pour ne pas prendre soin de ses équipes et les animaux en font parti. Je suis totalement choqué!

  • Allison B says:

    THIS right here is why I never, nor will I ever, pay to see the Hobbit! This is just plain wrong, especially when digital effects are as advanced as they are today. I hope Ms.Casey wins her lawsuit and things start changing in the movie and TV production business. Animals are not ours to use and abuse like this.

  • amalia matos says:

    Sou portuguesa. Temos que respeitar os animais como a nós próprios. Quem dera que o ser humano tivesse metade da compreensão do animal. O mundo era mais feliz. Quanto mais conheço o ser humano, mais gosto do animal.

  • Jessica says:

    This is awful! Glad I don’t pay for hbo and definitely won’t be watching the Hobbit ever!

  • Mom of 5 says:

    DISGUSTING! Shame on those people! I have tremendous respect for the woman for bringing these gross acts public.

  • Adriana Manzano Valverde says:

    Is horrible and so cruelty-

  • Margaret C-K says:

    Horrible. Everyone needs to know how this film company mistreated these animals, and they should suffer a huge monetary fine. Maybe then things would change.

  • norma gibney says:

    I think some jail time is in order for the people responible

  • Gail Marsot says:

    Disgusting!

  • Meggs says:

    Thank you so much for the update. I agree with the statements and the results of your findings. This carelessness of animals being injured or killed to make a production is horrific. However the very last sentence is very much a controversial statement. Love the Hobbit cartoon but unfortunately will probably never watch the non-animated version. That is a decision I made when the movie first came out and is because of the animal death allegations. ~Meggs~

  • Valerie Stein says:

    These images are so disturbing. I plead everybody not to see this moving or any which animals are used….

  • Mar&#237;a Ledesma says:

    Oh my god this is terrible i can’t believe it :’(

  • PATRICIA TURCO says:

    This is obsolutely horrible. No animal should be treated this way and the people who inflict this abuse to animals should be PUNISHED

  • Ariel Ann says:

    This is just absolutely horrible I will never see this movie!

  • MICKY says:

    every one involved close or far should go to jail and pay HUGE fine …nothing but bunch of SOB

  • sergio lion says:

    shame forever, disgusting

  • Eileen Paramore says:

    Never heard of the show “Luck or “Hobbit” and when and if i do i will not ne viewed in my home and went to extreme of just getting off the phone unsubscribing from HBO…this is unbelievable that people let these atrocities happen every single minute of every single day. It’s Pathetic!!! The people that make and let this happen are pathetic!!!

  • Aline Breton says:

    The lack of respect for nature is Horrifying! I wonder how these ppl can look in the mirror everyday. They have absolutely no dignity! I will NOT watch that movie, Its a promise!

  • maria del pilar says:

    and all that suffering for what? YES MONEY ONLY MONEY AND ALLAYS MONEY so sad

  • Dena Vaughan says:

    No matter how many times I read about this it leaves me experiencing such a deep sense of despair. How can we as a species ever come to terms with our outright assault on the natural world and all the creatures that are part of the tapestry of life, which by no small feat has been intrinsically designed. Our own arrogance and inflated self-view has blinded us in all respects. Basic human kindness on the most fundamental level is what is sorely lacking. Because of this conditions will continue to grow from bad to worse, with rock bottom inevitably being reached sooner than we think. But then to our great regret it will be too late to set back the clock. How morally bankrupt is the mind of man that he doesn`t rightly appreciate what should be demanding his awe and respect. The whole situation is beyond tragic and we as people are long-overdue the most serious of wake-up calls. It`s an undisputed fact that the animal realm has always and continues to freely give of themselves by bringing joy into our lives, greatly enriching our planet in the process. But we in our self-deluded `puffed-up` state see fit to repay their kindness by exploiting them in every conceivable way. The joy they freely give to us, we compensate by cold-heartedly contributing to their suffering on what for them must be a daily `holocaust` on a scale that staggers the mind. The planet that is enriched in untold ways because of their presence, is robbed beyond comprehension when we think we can make use of them for our own depraved ends. What we could gain through appreciation, is instead lost because of our own greed and selfishness. At the very least, their presence should be instilling within us a deep sense of respect for the place they hold in this world and the sense of sacredness this surely entails. Not to mention the immeasurable beauty they bring to it. If we class ourselves as reasonable custodians of this planet we`ve inherited, then surely that dictates we have a moral duty to protect the habitat of every living creature—making certain that abuse of any kind is in no way tolerated. For those with eyes to see, animals exhibit behaviour which is not only fascinating and entertaining for us to observe, but proves that we have so much we can learn from them. We can see from how they conduct themselves that they are not all that different from us. They operate on a basis of `work, rest and play` as we do, to the extent that they too enjoy their downtime after a long day—and when they sleep they dream dreams much in the same way as their human counterparts. They experience many of the same emotions that we do too—love, joy, enthusiasm, happiness, affection, homesickness, depression, loneliness, misery, frustration, fear, despair. At their core they are simplistic and highly intuitive beings that should be stirring feelings of compassion within us. Creatures both large and small invaluably contribute something uniquely precious to our environment, giving our day-to-day existence meaning and enriching it more than words could ever express. Without them our planet would lose it`s lustre. It would no longer be such a colourful and awe-inspiring place to live. But the truth is, the web of life is so delicately interwoven that without `them`, there would be no `us`—for whatever we do to them we undoubtedly in our recklessness do to ourselves.

  • Jennifer says:

    This is absolutely sickening and ridiculous. People have zero respect for anything anymore weather it’s animals or property. Just disgusting. Can’t we find other things to amuse us with?!?