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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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  • Cheryl perry says:

    I,m so sick of the stupid Hollywood machine, and after seeing this article on animal abuse and being caught, just ended for me!!!! This is so cruel, no compassion at all for these beautiful animals!!! SHAME,SHAME on ALL people involed!!

  • Virginia Jimenez says:

    Stop the animal abuse and THE cruelty !!! ANIMALS HAVE FEELINGS AND THEY NEED TO BE TREATED WITH DIGNITY !!!! THIS PEOPLE ARE REAL BAD !!!!

  • Lisa says:

    …and I donate to AHA thinking they are in it for the welfare of animals. Who can you trust anymore – so frustrating…

  • Sally Anne Hubbard says:

    I will boycott any movie that has caused the death or abuse of any animal. I will also advise others not to go to any of those movies either. It makes me ashamed of the human race to think that humans could inflict such pain and abuse to innocent animals.

  • Carolyn Hyatt says:

    Thank goodness I had the good sense not to watch the series Luck. I knew if it was real racing we would see injured/dying horses. Real races these things happen and in a reality horse racing program you were going to see injuries and death regarding horses. Thank you I will srick to housewives arguing and calling rach other names when it comes to reality TV.

  • Elisa says:

    save the animals!!

  • Cindi Scholefield says:

    This is truly a blow. I always check them before seeing a movie. Now I can’t even believe the AHA. How low can they sink?

  • Michele Bonsangue says:

    I am a regular contributor to AHA and other animal charities but I see that AHA in particular is not really looking out for the animals welfare if they can endorse a movie about their supervision of animal cruelty and then have things like the above exposure of neglect and abuse come to light. What are you thinking AHA! SHAME ON YOU!!

  • kevin says:

    I guess i won’t ever see any of the hobbit movie cause i don’t condone cruelty and enslavement..I heard Peter Jackson even knew this was going on and still turned the other cheek.. I always say if a human being can do this to a animal then they do it to another human being..That’s partly why i live my vegan lifestyle..

  • Colin Hamilton says:

    This disgusts me. Do we really consider ourselves civilised?

  • Angel says:

    Morally reprehensible.

  • Terri says:

    Thank you Barbara Casey for your bravery and for taking a stand against animal abuse. There are no limits that some people will go to for money. Thank you for revealing the American Humane Association for the INHUMANE organization that they really are and I pray that justice is done and you will win your lawsuit.

  • Alfred says:

    A man’s true character is revealed in how he treats the weakest member of his society. Our cruelty or kindness to animal reveals our true characters. Peace comes from compassion towards others especially the weak members of our society.

  • Linda Darrell says:

    How is this even possible??? I thought the Humane Society monitored animal safety in the movies. Has Hollywood totally lost it for the almighty dollar. This is a disgrace!! Hello??? Is anyone listening? Linda

  • betty says:

    SO IN HUMANE!!!!!!! why IS THIS HAPPENING? WHY ARE WE USING ANIMALS TO BENEFIT PROFIT??? I DON’T GET IT. SOMETHING SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT THIS CUS THIS IS HORRIFYING.

  • Gayle Hyde says:

    Absolutely disgusting. What is wrong with these greedy people

  • Louisa Jacobs says:

    A long as live animals work in the entertainment industry, there will be cruelties and AHA will continue to cover them up. AHA needs to clean up their house, their actions are indefensible.

  • betty says:

    Totally D I S G U S T I N G

  • Marius says:

    Total boycott of the Hobbit ! Sad ! for me, I love Tolkien (he loved animals, he wouldn’t have loved that at all !!!), but sad for these poor animals used and abused ! Shame on every movie of this terrible kind !!!

  • NANCY says:

    I can’t believe in 2013, we can still have this happen.. It saddens me…

  • Ieatzteddybearz says:

    It’s terrible that such a highly regarded movie would treat innocent animals with such neglect… Just to save money. They pamper actors and actresses on sets, you’d think they would pamper the animals as well.

  • Ederle Brookes says:

    Absolutely disgusting! How can the multi billion pound film industry still allow this to happen?? Shameful and I hope this abuse gets the publicity it deserves! Exploitation….but as long as it lines your pockets you don’t give a shit!!

  • lola says:

    Please stop animal abuse. !

  • estela picazarri says:

    PLEASE, STOP ABUSE

  • Bobbie says:

    Okay, the facts are in. I hope to hear that everyone responsible and those who simply sat back and let it happen without interfering on behalf of these poor animals are brought to justice and that it is aw harsh as the suffering portrayed in these pictures. Their movies should be boycotted forever.

  • carol gelfand says:

    it seems to me with the availability of digitally editing animal scenes that no animal should ever be put at any risk for these atrocities. if the films are editited properly they you cannot tell that they are not using real animals in the action scenes. it seems to me that when Mel Gibson made the movie braveheart that he used actual robotic horses in a lot of his scenes. perhaps the useless actors could make a few less millions so the movie could afford to hire computer experts to do this

  • Raquel Medina says:

    Because these animals, I think The Hobbit was a shame for Peter Jackson and New Zealand. I didn’t watch that picture for this reason.

  • Adair Leonard says:

    This is so sad. Why is it okay to abuse and take the live of a precious animal all in the name of greed!! Where is the compassion for them??

  • Amber says:

    How can the trainers and actors stand by and watch animals hurt just to make a tv show/movie. Animals are meant to be in the wild and as family companions, not for our entertainment!!

  • StopAnimalSlaughter says:

    If you know family, friends, neighbors, co-workers & strangers are doing things that you know Are Wrong, SPEAK UP FOR THE VOICELESS BEFORE ITS TOO LATE! Imagine how Upset & DISGUSTED your going to be with YOURSELF if something HORRIFIC happens & you did NOTHING to Help!  ~ALWAYS SPEAK UP FOR THE VOICELESS!!

  • Isabelle says:

    Keep animals out of films!!! Boycott!!! ALL movies and movie producers who exploit animals in the entertainment business!

  • Paula Baiardi says:

    Stop animal cruelty I just cannot understand how people could do such horrific acts. Sick!

  • christine blurton says:

    this is absolutely disgusting, this shouldnt be allowed to happen, animals shouldnt be abused and maimed or killed just for the sake of making a film. the film makers should be ashamed of themselves and brought to justice over this.

  • Marina says:

    These beautiful animals …this is a disgrace,a travesty …how can this happen? How can people sleep at night and go about their business when they have caused such pain and horror. May it haunt them forever.

  • Maria Teresa Pintos says:

    What a shame, you shame! Just think about money … And in the life of these animals who think and those safeguards???

  • Honor Hannon says:

    Bravo to whistleblowers everywhere. You are our moral alarm clocks! Now that I know how can I be most effective in stopping it? There are other fine films,like War Horse where I don’t think Director, Steven Stielsburg would allow bad behavior towards animals on his set.Perhaps we need the directors to validate AHA stamp of approval before the film is released. Definitely the Humane Society needs to be made aware. Of what is happening within its sister organization i

  • Joyce McDonnell says:

    Please tell me… how do these people sleep at night? Prosecute to the fullest extent of the law… and then some.

  • Anne Grice says:

    There is no excuse for this gruesome sickening cruelty and killing of animals in the film Industry! This is basically the result of humans who only sees $$$ and with absolutely no conscience or compassion for animals. The head of AHA should be sacked for this despicable practice which his/her office has condoned. Its time the public are aware of the sickening animal cruelty the are supporting when they go to these films. I refused to see these films.

  • janet canary says:

    I believe that movie the hobbit a unexpected journey is coming to a thearter near you soon.perhaps a group of protesters with these pictures of injured and dead horse should be there also.show movie goers the truth of how animals are treated or were treated in that movie.

  • Nora Jones says:

    Don’t go to watch any movie that has live animals in it. You can bet your bottom dollar they have been abused and exploited on many levels. Don’t hand your money over for entertainment that involves animal cruelty.

  • PelicanCat says:

    Not cool! They should not use real animals anymore unless they are treated like royalty, in a good way. They should use digital animals so no one gets hurt. It is inexcusable to harm an animal for any movie. It is just a movie. Glad it is being brought out into the open. AHA should hire new people if this is not being brought out into the light when it happens.

  • Tia says:

    More exploitation of animals. This never ends and the animals continue to suffer. In this case, whoever owns these horses needs to be fined and have their rights to own horses taken away for good. If greed rather than true love for horses is their reason for owning them, they have no right to have them. If they cared, those horses wouldn’t have been injured during filming.

  • Donna says:

    This information, should be KNOWN via National and INternationally via Local News Network and all Broadcast systems on a regular basis, so MOST Everyone is made Aware of what REALLY goes on. Who are the PErsons in the AHA? Their Names should be publicly known too. These inhumane Persons should definitely be penalized.

  • João Carranço says:

    É inadmissível que em pleno sec.XXI ainda haja gente com mentalidade das cavernas . Urge criar leis severas para quem comete tais barbáries contra os animais

  • David says:

    I have always flip flopped about this issue. Of course I don’t condone any type of animal abuse for movies or any other sort of entertainment. However the reason I joined Peta was because of the movie Babe about a pig. That made such a difference about how I felt as a child about and animals and how they should be treated. So not all is bad, Not all is good, But the movie Babe made me think when I was a kid.

  • Cindy says:

    Write them here to tell them what you think of them: filmunit@americanhumane.org

  • Claudia-Susann Berg says:

    Please stop These cruel Jobs for animal souls. The whole human beings is completely stupid, dont understand the language of their animals, unbelievable. Do your Jobs by yourselves and let the animals alive. It is a Horror, what persons mean, to do with Gods animal souls. Th planet would be mor richer without These human beings and only with the animals. I shame to be on of the human beings, I shame.

  • Greg L. says:

    HBO should be prosecuted,and shut down,for trying to cover this up,and production hobbet, realy stinks,and wont air long, they arte all ,in it for the money,stop watching any on HBO.

  • pearlgirlon maui says:

    absolutely unnecessary and disgusting and Im not surprised ..always about the buck and by the way boycott horse racing ..it is a nasty and cruel sport

  • ellenk323 says:

    I won’t believe the statement at the end of film credits that states “No Animals were hurt in the making of this movie” anymore. This is awful.

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