After quickly denying any allegations of animal cruelty on the set of "The Hobbit" in a statement yesterday, Peter Jackson took to his Facebook page to further comment on the allegations to relieve fans of accusations.
Yesterday, an AP article alleged "The Hobbit" production responsible for the deaths of up to 27 animals, which has since led to PETA's "The Hobbit: Unexpected Cruelty" online petition.
Jackson says the only animal health that came into question were those of two horse wranglers let go by production more than a year ago:
The Hobbit production has always instituted swift and immediate investigations in to any concerns of any kind over the treatment of animals under its care. A prompt and thorough investigation into the recent unsubstantiated allegations by the American organisation, PETA, in to the ‘hobbling’ of a horse during the making of The Hobbit was undertaken. No evidence of such a practice was found to have occurred at any time. Further, the production contacted the owner of the horse concerned who provided the following statement: “I am 100% happy with the return of Shanghai and his condition. In the term that he was leased he was picked up and returned to me two times. On both occasions there was not a mark on him and he was healthy and happy. He has shown no signs of ill-treatment. I would not hesitate in leasing him to the movie again.”
To date, the only horse wranglers whose treatment of animals fell below the production’s standard of care seem to be the two wranglers who have chosen to level this new accusation on the eve of the premiere of the first Hobbit film and who were dismissed by the production over a year ago. Reports of their actions are documented in several written statements dating back to October 2011.
The production regrets that PETA has chosen to make such a serious accusation, which has distressed many of the dedicated Kiwis who worked with animals on the films - including trainers, wranglers, care-givers, farm workers and animal health care professionals - without properly vetting the source from which they received this information.
The director went on to include testimony from a veterinarian and farmer on set along with actor Jed Brophy (who will play dwarf Nori) who called the accusations appalling.