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.
  • Sabine Unrau says:

    Please stop animal abuse. !

  • Gale says:

    My husband and I have contributed MONTHLY to AHA for many years. Clearly this has to stop. I am a monthly contributor to PETA as well and they will now be given more. This is deeply disturbing and unconscionable.

  • janb says:

    Man has lost his sense of right and wrong… money clouds their judgements and compassion goes out the window… This is not right! Animals have rights and I am just about fed up with mankinds selfishness when it comes to animals… But then when most of mankind is still eating animals why should they care!? Animals are NOT ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way! Until mankind gets this message there will be no peace on earth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Liz says:

    That is appalling. Do any of the human actors of these movies have anything to say. Absolutley disgracefull.

  • Janice Phillips says:

    This is completely unacceptable. The film industry has got to protect animals. How can they let this inhumane abuse happen???

  • Steve Jones says:

    Almost ALL of those involved in supplying horses and other animals for films are sick animal abusers, they are sociopaths, incapable of basic empathy. I will never go to see these films, this is sickening. Nobody has the right to use any animal for any purpose, all animals are born for themselves, not for humans.

  • Luis says:

    Please stop this film for making any money, I hope they get a good fine for this crime.

  • Norma Campbell says:


  • Marian says:

    Stop the abuse. This is horrible!

  • Brenda Robinson says:

    This is disgraceful. Shame on them, and to lie about it, no animals hurt! What goes around comes around so watch out, you don’t know when or where, but karma will get you for this and pay you back tenfold.

  • chander kumar soni says:

    please love animals.

  • Zoe Z says:

    Barbaric! Civilized people do not do things like this. It is a terrible crime to do such things and the fines should be large enough to really hurt the perpetrators and used to help animals. This should never happen again!

  • chander kumar soni says:

    shocking and horrible.

  • Lbrme says:

    What a vile display of inhumanity.

  • shannon rahlves says:

    This is so disturbing! Stop watching these movies, HBO and shows. This is about humanity and life! Horses and animals deserve better, way way better! Respect yourself, all humans, animals, nature!

  • peter russell says:

    why do we treat & eat animals this way.

  • ocean17 says:

    such barbaric cruelty, this is so very wrong. these trusting animals killed in the name of entertainment and cutting corners. more human treatment is necessary. this type of mindless cruelty in the entertainment industry has to stop.

  • Leslie Burton says:

    This cruelty is unexplainable with the millions of dollars made on the film. These people should be banned from the film producing industry and from any involvement with animals again.

  • laura e says:

    Horrific!! How anyone could treat lovely innocent animals this way! Especially for a film! I’d rather not have films if that be the case! I hope they get the same treatment! The pigs!

  • Margaret Esposito says:

    This is a disgrace. I will not go to any movies or buy any DVDs until this abuse and dying ceases. I am passing this on to all my friends.

  • Cynthia Bayne says:

    This is appalling. It is inexcusable and must be STOPPED now. All my life I have loved animals especially horses. The disappointment in the American Humane Association’s part in this horror is unforgivable.

  • monika mccomb says:

    animal cruelty is not acceptable , this needs to stop

  • monika mccomb says:

    this needs to stop………..animal cruelty is not acceptable

  • Kirsten says:

    Disgusting – all in the name of Entertainment? NO – The mighty Bloody Dollar. JRR Tolkein would be sickened and I will boycott ALL these films and encourage others to do so as well. Shame Shame on all involved – Director, Producers-Actors

  • kamalika says:

    we dont want realistic films using real animals. animals has nothing to do with human entertainment…so leave them alone in d forest. they r more civilised then we r in the so called society… please stop this murder once and for all…

  • Tiffany Tramutolo says:

    I am sincerly appalled at finding “Luck” and “The Hobbit” showed little regard in proper handling and treatment of live set animals.Computer Generation of animals in many instances based on movent and behavior of animals is easy in itself and can be less time consuming as this seems to be a pressing element in both productions. I’d expect more from the AHA’s Seal not to be a cover up. It started out as a Humaine Act Assurance in film industry concerning the treatment and handling of live animals.

  • bee says:

    you people are suck bring down hbo!!!!!

  • Pam4eq says:

    Disgusting. Why do we need to abuse and kill animals just for entertainment.

  • Patty says:

    This is truly heartbreaking! I hope this gets as much publicity as it can, especially in Hollywood! I hope those responsible for this, and for the cover up of this cruelty to animals are brought to justice and go to jail for this!

  • Adriana says:


  • harish says:

    The Govt must slap a heavy heavy fine on the production house and the director. When the Govt can slap a fine on the Oil industry, when a tanker spills. why not here?

  • marianna dregan says:


  • norma says:

    some people dont give a shit about nothing but themself and should go through what they put these poor animals trough

  • Lisa Wills says:

    disgusting in the name of entertainment if actors were treated like this it would be a different story. Animals have souls too!!!!

  • Vanessa says:

    Peter Jackson’s name is mud now. His movies should be boycotted.

  • Helena says:

    I will never pay to watch a Peter Jackson film ever again.

  • Lingling says:

    Please stop being cruelty to the animals

  • Ebenko says:

    Oh my word. How in the world could such abuse take place and no one stop this? Are there no honest veterinarians on site? WAS the humane society involved? THEY are not corrupt are they?

  • Josephine Rocska says:

    What the hell, you people should be punched. You are to be a better human being and you let this happen? The people on that set should be fired or close down the Association. You are fake. If this movie comes out I will protest.

  • Geri Wynn says:

    It is horrific that all those animals were killed or injured and it was covered up. They need to be held accountable and quit using animals in such a way.

  • Sean Yoo says:

    This is so disgusting. I will never watch another movie connected in any way with the American Humane Association. I will also introduce AHA to everyone I know at every given chance with these images.

  • Emily klonaris says:

    Im disgusted with this disturbing information Shame on them I will not be seeing that movie nor will anyone else I know and i’ll make sure i spread this disgraceful news

  • Jan Baker says:

    I will not go to see this movie nor will any of my friends….this is bloody disgusting …all in the name of money..when will these people put animals first….

  • dabz says:

    STOP ANIMAL CRUELTY! The show should be punished! Animals don’t deserve this for the sake of the show and money for the production! Lets give justice for the animal!

  • Jessie Morris says:

    Sad day to be a kiwi after reading this! The AHA should be ashamed of themselves! They are supposed to be there to protect those animals!.. and anyone who stood by silently while this took place as well! There is no place for this in entertainment! and I’m sure if everyone were aware this was happening this movie would have died a slow and painful death along with those poor defenseless animals. You should all be incredibly ashamed of yourselves!!! I am! Sad!!!

  • Dawn Joslin says:

    They lie!! These animals prove them to lie, how is it that they don’t get protected by these companies that make millions & rightly so have to protect animals!! Computer generate horses if you can’t keep them safe or for any animal for that mater!!!

  • Tracy R says:

    This is utterly deplorable. How can anyone saying they’re protecting animals allow this to happen. Thank you Barbara Casey for bringing out the truth.

  • etienne saint vregord says:

    It is a curse to hear about all the horses that have had to pay with their lives because of the filming of The Hobbit and the greed. Have filmmakers were totally devoid of the living horses and how they have been treated. Now that everyone knows about the tragic background of the horses in this film, film company must beware how they treat horses in the future 🙁 It is a scandal and major crime!!! I hope this does not go unheeded as if nothing happened !!! I hope it will have consequences for the film company criminal act against the horses

  • Xeniya says:

    OMG! I hate this movie and those ppl who shooting in this film and do nothing to save animals!!!!

  • Marzena says:

    The Hobbit- cemetery for animals