Tragic news has come to light of the sad and untimely death of a horse on the set of the second season of a Lord of the Rings spin-off show titled ‘Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power’ on the 21st March 2023. Amazon Studios revealed in their subsequent statement that the horse suffered from a fatal cardiac arrest during filming for the production, whilst they were being exercised prior to the rehearsal.
According to production sources, 30 horses were “employed” from a company called ‘The Devil’s Horsemen’ on the day the individual in question passed away, and a vet and representative from the American Humane Association were present at the time. However, there is no excuse for such an event taking place on the set of a TV show as, ethically, the animal should never have been present there in the first place. No animal is ever “employed” by these companies to be involved in the TV and Film industry, they are forced to be there and have no choice in the matter. These types of devastating losses would not be commonplace if animals were no longer used in the name of human entertainment, and allowed the freedom they so very much deserve and have a right to.
Sadly, the Lord of the Rings franchise has experienced criticism in the past regarding their treatment of animals during filming. In 2012, the director of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, Peter Jackson was forced to respond to allegations of animal mistreatment when “three horses, six goats, six sheep and a dozen chickens” tragically died on set. These untimely deaths are completely unacceptable – no animal should have to suffer such terrible consequences, especially in the name of “art”.
Freedom for Animals fights for the freedom of all animals used in the entertainment industry, and condemns the involvement of live animals on sets such as this. There is so much incredible technology available to the industry today, including mechanical rigs and CGI, that would not lead to the deaths of these beautiful animals. We recently published a blog surrounding the Oscars and how animals are exploited in the TV and Film industries, which can be found here.
Find out more about our work for animals used in TV and Film.