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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.
  • Janice says:

    It is one thing to maim and kill but totally unethical to lie to the puplic. I ,too, will discontinue any donation to American Humane which appears to be a total sham so movie makers can continue to show disregard for animals.

  • Conni says:

    I thought we were over this abusive treatment of animals in films and programs! I won’t be seeing these productions!

  • Vikas Jain says:

    Only one way to make a batter world is Save animal save humanity. We feel pain, these animals also feels the same. We human love our children,these animals also do the same. The difference is we human are selfish, money minded, cheap, but these animals do not have these qualities.

  • anna pasicznyk says:

    this is sick and disgusting

  • Gail Barber says:

    Please stop abusing animals in film and tv.

  • Terri says:

    I work in the film industry and fortunately have NEVER seen any animal abuse. There has always been very strict guidlines on set when an animal was present. There are always responsible Handlers and if it was time for a break or the animal was stressed they stopped shooting. I’m sorry to hear about these abuses on the mentioned productions.

  • kathy kron says:

    it just gets more disgusting everytime I read about animal abuse. First off, I blame AHA! I trusted them and am always releived when I read at the end of a film that it was monitored by AHA – NO MORE! I want to start a petition that WE ALL BOYCOTT ANY FILM THAT USES ANIMALS.AHA – quite taking money from the film industry. This obviously causes a conflit of interest for you! Your mission is to save animals and if you try to justify that the money you reap from the industry helps save “other” animals then you have it ass-backwards! I will no longer support you until you pledge to never again accept dirty money! And all the film producers etc should be exposed so we can boycott their movies. Sickening!!!! Shame on you all!!!!!!!

  • Christine Rose says:

    I am so glad people spoke up and didn’t allow this to be covered up as I’m sure it has happened quite often in the past. Kudos to all that cared more about the animals then their jobs.

  • angela says:

    this is cruel and disgusting STOP THIS NOW

  • Penelope Furphy says:

    No animal should be exploited and abused for human entertainment. I am shocked by these images.

  • Dave and Rita Cross says:

    American Humane Association, We trusted you to oversee and protect animals used in making films! These pics tell the tale of the obvious abuse of these horses! Shame on you! We will discontinue our donations until we see greatly improved protection for animals!

  • Maria Perez says:

    I find it disgusting that the actors are paid millions and the animals are treated as if they are worthless. I won’t be paying to watch these films. NOT ACCEPTABLE. Shame on you, the actors in these movies.

  • hazelc24bt says:

    utterly disgusting,no need for this cruelty.As for dustin Hoffman my ONCE hero in acting can now go to hell.

  • pistoleta says:

    i’m glad that money hungry prick is being sued, serves him right. unfortunately, such people always get away because they have money.

  • lisa says:

    Horrified – how on earth are people allowed to inflict such cruelty – this has made me physically sick

  • Michelle says:

    Most of the cast and crew likely wouldn’t have a clue about abuses. Prosecute the guilty ones.

  • Brande buonfanti says:

    keep the animals off the movie sets, they are not any better than the race tracks.. its all about Money…. how much they can get and give very little to the animal… this world has come to be so corruptive.

  • JanetR says:

    The people responsible should be sued and put in jail for animal abuse.

  • Nicholas Gysi says:

    using animals for entertainment is wrong.

  • DMAYER says:

    The AHA is ultimately to blame for this – they should be enforcing the LAW and preventing this cruelty. They should have charges pressed against THEM for cruelty to animals. This is an outrage that must STOP!

  • Karen Levins says:

    All they care about is money and time is money!

  • Rhoda DeWindt says:

    This is horrible. These poor defenseless animals. I believe in “an eye for an eye”, or these people should be prosecuted, fined and sent to prison. .

  • Sue says:

    Shamefull use of defenceless animals for the sake of entertainment. The movie industry should be ashamed of itself and be made accountable for this cruelty. Proper independent monitoring is needed to avoid the paying public to be hoodwinked.

  • Veronika says:

    Considering animal cruelty should be put to an end, to go this far just in the name of entertainment is just sickening and hoppeless…shame on humanity! I hope the people involved will get a punishment to set their minds right and make sure ths won’t be repeated. I don’t feel like watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey anymore, thanks for that AHA and HBO..

  • isabella kovacs says:

    Dont kill the horses on Movies!!!

  • Ms. L. Carmel says:

    I AGREE WITH BRENDA HULL. It’s Humanities Fault. And We All Need To Do Something About It!

  • Eva María says:

    I´m feel so sad about seeing these photos.They are horrible.We have to stop this.We have to care the animals.

  • anita schwarz says:

    The treatment of animals here is not acceptable. producers/filmmakers need to have as much passion for care of animals used on set as they do for the making of their film.

  • stahlwulfaru says:

    what shame! hbo and hobbit plus the american humane association you guys need to stop the cruelty no create more of it! im disgusted with you and the thought of you allowing more horses to die

  • Nic says:

    Where are all the compassionate, caring, do the right thing, raised right people in our society today? Truth is most are gone…Why is there such a disconnect from right and wrong nowadays? For a frickin movie nonetheless…sad, sad, sad!!! I can only hope that all the degenerates in this world will meet there maker someday!!

  • Christine Jones says:

    What kind of acting scenes produced these lacerations to the animal’s bodies. One picture shows a jockey. If all he was doing was riding the horse how did the animal die. It seems to me that the lacerations were deliberately done. Did the have the animals running through barb wires?


    !After the animals did not change not distort their feelings!, And let them deprive Environment ….! Such is the nature …… we the paranormal!.

  • sherallee schubert says:

    This is discusting!These animals should never have been threated like this. No movie is that important that animals should have to be injured or killed. Anyone found to be guilty of such cruelty must be prosecuted. I will not be giving my time to such movies that are cruel to animals.

  • Narmin Nasser says:

    The HBO and the AHA need to be put away for life. all of these who are part of HBO and AHA. they should never be allowed to be near ANY ANIMAL. This is disgusting and outrageous. They have to pay for what they have done to these poor animals. PETA do not let them get away with this.

  • Jamie says:

    Please stop this cruelty for profit. It is disgusting. I can assure you that I will no longer purchase a movie ticket to a movie that includes animals nor will I support TV shows that showcase animals.


    Chega isso tem que acabar!!! Tanta tecnologia pra tamanha ignorância, por isso gosto mais de bicho do que de gente, empresas como estas citadas acima deveriam ter vergonha de promover este de tipo de filme, sinto nojo de quem curti esse tipo de coisa.

  • Steph Mason says:

    Can’t believe this is happening, the AHA especially. They really do need new employees cause they’re supposed to be protecting the ANIMALS, not their wallets!!


    Isto é desrespeito aos animais, tais empresas deveriam ter vergonha de promover filmes deste tipo. É lamentável o que fazem com os animais, a cada dia que passa gosto mais de bichos do que de gente! pessoas que aceitam esse tipo de filme ou seja lá o que for me dão nojo!!! Tanta tecnologia pra tamanha ignorância…

  • Animallover says:


  • Marion Bedford says:

    I will not be attending The Hobbit movie or renting or borrowing the DVD either. Thanks to PETA for making me more aware of what happens to animals in the service of “entertainment”. I will forward this newsletter to others.

  • Katie says:

    It’s weird none of the actors said anything…

  • Angry_Bella says:

    If the money grubbing, vile people who are responsible for maintaining the welfare of these precious animals continue not doing their freakin jobs, the animals don’t stand a chance!!! Wth?!?

  • Liliana Gavilanes says:

    All animals are beautiful. People who does not like of them and maltreat them must be seriously punished. All bad actions for nature and animals are returned to bad people in the same way.

  • Eliana Dowden says:

    Disturbing pictures, all this cruelty for money….very sad. Thank God still some people with heart and courage to expose how some humans really are

  • Samantha says:

    This is HORRIBLE! I honestly thought the days of doing this to animals in movies, were over! I guess I was wrong! This is SHAMEFUL! I hope AHA get their PANTS SUED OFF and I think PETA should ones keeping an eye animals that put in movies and shows! These images are SICKENING and I hope this is put an end to! Horrible, shameful and sickening! I truly hope this story has a happy ending for the animals.

  • Lisa Scharin says:

    I hate watching a movie with animals in it, even though I have! I always wonder about their lives and their treatment! I try not to watch too many with animals! With the advances in #$ animation, I think that we have come to the pint we don’t need to have live animals on sets at all! I hope that this will open ALL eyes in Hollywood and change the movie industry and cause them to move away from real animals! They can employ talented people and help the economy instead!

  • Laura Briskman-Ferguson says:

    Humans are sick – not all but a large majority. This is inexcusable and there should be very strict laws in place with long jail time for anybody who mistreats an animal in any way, shape or form. What we see today is about 2% of what happens every day somewhere on this plant. This is simply horrible!!!

  • Amanda says:

    This is Disgusting….how is this allowed to happen???? Bastards they should be castrated immediately 🙁 All for a dumb movie….Wtf??

  • Debbie Cliffors says:

    Horrific abuse of innocent aniimals for humans cheap low brow amusement. Dusgusting!

  • Linda G. says:

    How can you call yourself a HUMANE organization and watch this disgusting treatment of innocent animals take place! Goes right along with the USDA in slaughter houses!!