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Read This Before You Go See ‘The Lone Ranger’

Written by Alisa Mullins | June 27, 2013

As a huge Johnny Depp fan, I was initially pretty excited about the opening of The Lone Ranger next weekend. But since I also care about horses, I’m going to have to pass on the “Who was that masked man?” reboot. That’s because the movie contains several scenes that put horses in danger. 


During filming, a horse almost drowned after being forced to swim across the rain-swollen Colorado River and being swept downstream. The horse was saved only because a production crew was in a pontoon boat downriver and someone was able to throw a lasso around the animal’s head and pull the horse ashore.

Making a movie with horses can be dangerous for humans, too. During the filming of another scene, Depp fell off his horse and was trampled.

Horses hold the depressing distinction of being the animal most frequently injured or killed on TV and movie sets. As a recent example, you may remember that the horse racing–themed TV show Luck was canceled after three horses died during the first season alone.

Horses’ high casualty rate is attributable to several factors. While horses are domesticated and therefore more easily trained than exotic animals, many people involved in the film industry are unfamiliar with their behavior and needs and therefore make demands on them that are stressful, uncomfortable, and downright dangerous. Horses are also prey animals who are easily frightened and have a high flight instinct—and when they flee, they can seriously hurt themselves. Some horse trainers are inexperienced and/or abusive, and even reputable trainers know that they may be putting their jobs on the line if they resist when asked to put horses at risk. In fact, one trainer was fired from The Lone Ranger production for refusing to shoot potentially dangerous scenes.

What You Can Do

If a movie contains scenes with horses, hi-ho, Silver, stay away! Instead, stick with films that use sophisticated computer-generated imagery, which weaves a story without harming a hair on an animal’s head.

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  • Respect Animals says:

    I was extremely excite by that movie. I never imagine thins like that…I didn’t thinking before…… I just will forget about Johnny Depp’s movie and all of movies envolve animails !!!!!

  • angelica goldstein says:

    I’ve loved horses all my life, so naturally, westerns were always my favorite movie genre. It never occurred to me that horses could be HURT during filming, as I ASSUMED they had the BEST TRAINERS AND HANDLERS! Also, my father had told me, when I was a child, that all the HORSE TRICKS were only CAMERA TRICKS. I was STUNNED to read over the years, the DANGER,CRUELTY, and TRAUMA, these MAJESTIC CREATURES were FORCED TO ENDURE, for the sake of a MAKING A FILM! This to me is CRIMINAL! Now that TECHNOLOGY has made it possible to replicate whatever behavior is necessary through the magic of computer generated imagery, there should NEVER BE ANY REASON TO PUT AN ANIMAL AT RISK!! But IT CONTINUES! I will NEVER SEE ANY FILM THAT HAS ENDANGERED AN ANIMAL, EVER!!

  • babybee says:

    As a Johnny Depp fan, I’m deeply upset and disappointed about the horse abuse in this movie. I haven’t seen the movie yet and will definitely not see it after reading this.

  • carla says:

    i was a big fan of johnny depp until i read this story. i am outraged. i can’t believe that people in that industry can be so inhumane!!! i don’t want to ever see another film of johnny depp’s.

  • dawn ransley says:

    I am appalled that johnny depp has appeared in a film that promotes animal cruelty, shame on him !!!

  • dawn ransley says:

    I am appalled that johnny depp has appeared in a film that promotes animal cruelty, shame on him !!!

  • sam says:

    I thought the days of tripping horses that are running full gallop in order to have dramatic falling down scenes were over??! Well, they SHOULD be over! No excuses!!

  • Lynda Strutt says:

    As an animal lover I am appalled that the animals used in the film were not given the safety and welfare they should have. I am a fan of Johnny Depp but under these circumstances cannot go and see the film. I will never support animal cruelty.

  • Lynn C. says:

    Very Disappointed in Johnny Depp…thought he cared about environmental and animal issues…Guess hes just like the rest of the actors that will be involved in anything just for the $$$$$ ….

  • MaryBill says:

    I would NEVER go to see any movie which has animal stunts. I do not believe any creature, large or small, is put on this earth for our entertainment. I feel it is horrible to use horses on TV or in movies in this age of advanced technology. Please, do not support movies with horses or any animals performing dangerous tricks/stunts.

  • Loves Horses says:

    You Tube showed a clip/advertisement for (spelling?) Django Unchained; horses looked terrified after experiencing explosions. Horses are not necessary. Thousands of actors would gladly take the place of horses (and probably get PTSD/hearing loss later). Probably most film/tv ‘animal actors’ should be replaced with sophisticated computer graphics. Even in the ‘best’ circumstances the dogs are probably bored and would rather be outside, taking a walk.

  • Toby says:

    I wouldn’t want to support a film that has horse back riding at all, with or without stunts… why would a horse want someone riding them & muzzling them & kicking them & all that?

  • nikki says:

    I am horrified. I always thought Johnny Depp a conscientious actor with caring values towards all…am shocked he would be involved in a film that was so dangerous to anyone and cruel to creatures of a sensitive nature so sad.

  • ocean17 says:

    animal cruelty is never acceptable, especially behind the scenes in the glitz and glam world of hollywood. this is no exception. the fact is, this is animal cruelty, no doubt about it. it must be stopped.