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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.

Commenting is closed.
  • Picaud Aurélie says:

    I’m really shocked bout those pictures! I thought that animals were protected in movies??????????? Well i’m a fan of The Hobbit, but i’m not gonna watch it anymore and i’ll talk about that to people around me. It’s really a shame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Animals aren’t tools or toys !!

  • Linda Shifflett says:

    You should be ashamed AHA that you let this happen to helpless animals unforgivable!!! You are losers. I would never go to the Hobbitt or rent it after I heard about this I will never go to any of this producer or directors movies, totally immoral cruel people. All those animals suffered and died for the almighty dollar, SAD!!!

  • soltysiak says:

    quel horreur et une fois de plus c’est pour l’argent ; on veut de vendre du reve et c une horreur

  • Aimeley says:

    This is unbelievable! How could they let this happen? These aren’t just deaths but very painful deaths – those poor innocent animals.

  • dhruva says:

    down down American Humane Association. In the first place when they are funded by the movie industry isn’t there a conflict of interest here. Whose purpose are they addressing here? Looks like the AHA is just another bunch of crappy hypocrites making a living out of tainted money.

  • Lena says:

    not just a movie..

  • Sue Priest says:


  • Mia says:

    Shameful and shouldn’t be without justice for these animals.

  • Charles and Christine Lina says:

    This is UNACCEPTABLE and wrong on so many levels.

  • Dalia Hettfield says:

    That is so nasty, cruel, and very Unethical. It’s disgusting to see all those pictures and the bad injuries and the dead. I quote this phrase which is so much true: “The only truly cruelty-free films are those in which no animals are used, period.” Hope in the future watch films with better results that this. Blessings!

  • Mona says:

    Their deaths must not go in vain! The movie industry must be responsible of such tragedies, which should not have taken place in the first place. Haven’t they learned already?

  • Helena Botros says:

    This is why I will never watch The Hobbit and will spread the worh about the hyppocricy of the AHA. What a shame.

  • Alex says:

    This films, are so popular, with such reputible actors. I feel ashamed that I have seen one, and so disappointed that this unfair treatment occured, which was unnecessary for the popularity and quality of the film 🙁

  • Cindy Aase says:

    With the advances of the motion picture industry, this is totally unacceptable, I’m saddened that sentient beings are being used as disposable objects. It doesn’t have to be this way. I am also ashamed and angered that the AHA signed off on obvious animal abuse in the making of this program and film. I hope the law suit gets the attention of the public and the industry cleans up it’s abusive practices.

  • BNix says:

    This is so disturbing.. What can we do?

  • Janice bauer says:

    I wont see any of these shows or movies where this cruelty has been allowed….

  • Kim says:

    How could you people let this happen? This is horrible….

  • Amparo cv says:

    STOP HURTING ANIMALS for entertainment.

  • Khando yangzom says:

    This should seriously banned in film n the government should punished the illegal things going around…

  • tal says:

    Freaking sick. Disgusted and very sad about this..

  • Kathy says:

    Pathetic & inhumane…. when money means more than a life. These need to be released everywhere!

  • Karen says:

    It is absolutely disgraceful for the AHA to cover up these horrific deaths. And then to deny the allegations with photos showing the truth just shows that you can’t trust any organization that works with big money companies.

  • Kathy Stoltz says:

    Why would the movie industry and the media in general care about animals? It cares nothing about the devastating effects it is having on our human society.

  • This is past evil !!!!!!!!! says:

    These people are hurting animals & are not to be trusted !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Christina Skouby says:

    I’m so sad and disappointed. We cant trust the label “No animals where harmed in the making of….” I was looking forward to see The Hobbit, but I sure aint going to see it now. Shame on you all. I hope you will be brought to justice and must pay BIG time for this.

  • Cathy Sanderson says:

    I think it is a crime to treat these horses like that. My daughter has a horse and I would absolutely disown her if she treated him like this. No animal deserves to be treated this way and whoever the guilty party is needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

  • lesley Illingworth says:

    this needs to stop.its a disgrace..

  • Margaret-Ann Coleman says:

    Humans and greed do it again! Families are tricked and betrayed with the actions of these film makers and the animals are tortured and die! The producers should be charged with criminal action and brought to trial.

  • Gabby lopez says:

    Wow! I’m so ashamed to have watched The Hobbit. I’m spreading the word!

  • puptch says:

    This just sickens me to no end.

  • linda macfarlane says:

    They need to be fined and put in prison for this horrific treatment of innocent and completely harmless animals. They should never ever be allowed to produce anything again.

  • marygrace maxwell says:

    No animals should be used in movies

  • Frances Simmons says:

    This is deplorable and I certainly DO NOT want to see the movie and I will inform my friends of this.

  • Tracy says:

    This is appalling. The AHA should be there to protect animals not allow this abuse. You should be ashamed. You will face judgement when the time comes.

  • harness says:

    omg…….what the hell is going on.What is wrong with these producers of film making or tv programming.Why do these poor defenseless animals have to suffer or die?maybe it should be ok if sean connery dies on a set or bruce willis….animals are no different then us.they try and do what we ask and this is how you treat them.animals should be banned from all movies…

  • Susan says:

    This is terrible. What is wrong with people. Letting animals die just to make a dollar. Shame on them.


    Obviously you people do not have any morals or know the meaning of being human …. or telling the truth …… I will post this every week so the world will NEVER forget your treatment of the animals used in your films.

  • Melanie Godfrey says:

    As a Hobbit fan im disgusted and appauled of the suffering of these animals just so you can get rateing … so sad

  • Hazel Everest says:

    Thank God someone exposed the truth. People like this truly do change the world.

  • Xochitl Gaxiola says:

    It is really bad that animals get hurt working in movies. That should not happen, and if happens don’t lie saying that nothing happened. How come the government doesn’t do anything about it? Who pays and how much? I thought the American government was not corrupt,but it looks as if I was wrong. Let’s do something about it.

  • Jane Lillie says:

    I think it is awful that Peter Jackson and the authorities have hoodwinked the paying public and “pretended” that no animals were harmed in the making of their films, when this is a downright lie, so that they can appear animal friendly and earn more money by appealing to the public. Disgraceful

  • Caridad Murphy says:

    This is horrible, I will boycott the movie and tell everyone I know to do the same, this is really a shame.

  • Deborah McCoy says:

    I heard about this maybe 2 months ago here in Australia and how the person who revealed this was anonymous! Thank God she has come forward. There is nothing wrong with Whistleblowing, she was probably scared but she stayed true to herself. I followed this and the press and the movies directors, whomever hoped this was just a disgruntled employee who was ticked off! How in this day and age did they think they would get away with this? TO ALL LOVING, KIND RESPONSIBLE, WITH A MORAL COMPASS INDIVIDUALS DO NOT BE AFRAID TURN THESE BASTARDS IN! YOU ARE NOT ALONE, THERE ARE MANY OF US WHO ARE ON THE LOOKOUT (SOMETIMES BY HAPPENSTANCE)THESE POOR ANIMALS HAVE NO VOICE. KUDOS TO YOU DARLING, YOU DID WELL, AND I KNOW HOW HARD IT IS, IF YOU BECOME BLACKLISTED BECAUSE OF YOUR DEDICATION, YOU WILL BE REWARDED WITH RESPECT AND COURAGE FROM THE REST OF YOUR ANIMAL LOVING COLLEAGUES! GOD BLESS YOU AND NEVER BACK DOWN.

  • cindy says:

    I’am upset over this my heart and stomach sank when I saw the pictures! A lot of people simple don’t care. HOW COULD ANYONE ON THE SET EVEN STAND FOR THIS, ANIMAL ABUSE MUST NEED TO STOP ANIMALS CAN’T HELP THEMSEVES. WE NEED TO HELP ANY KIND OF ABUSE!!!!

  • Paula Rouse says:

    HOW can this be allowed to happen???????????

  • RAGON says:

    It’s horrible and unfair!!! We have some technology, why not to use them? I don’t understand. Just to do a movie, we sacrifice lives…

  • Lea Van Gysel says:


  • Lareina says:

    The only truly cruelty-free films are those in which no animals are used, period. Animals aare not for entertainment.

  • Joe Scala says:

    How is it everything about Holly Wood is fake with the exception of the treatment of Animals