PETA is having none of director Peter Jackson’s recent defense against animal abuse allegations on the set of his “Hobbit” trilogy.
Following damaging reports of mistreatment by several whistleblowers involved with the production – mainly concerning unsafe housing conditions that led to several animals being maimed or killed – Jackson took to his official Facebook page yesterday to strike back at the claims brought forth by the media-savvy animal rights organization, asserting: “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.”
Jackson’s defense also included a statement from “Hobbit” actor Jed Brophy (a.k.a. Nori), who said in part: “The entire time we were on set, and when we were training with the animal wranglers employed to look after and train the animals for filming, I observed no mistreatment – in fact the opposite is true.”
In response, PETA has posted a response on their official website, which states that “all claims of animal injury and death are directly related to how the animals were housed and fed. Jackson attempts to deflect these serious charges by talking about the use of animals during action sequences-even though these damning incidents did not take place when cameras were rolling.”
The message goes on to again list a few of the previously-reported offenses (including the “hobbling” of one horse that was allegedly deemed too excitable), before making a plea to Jackson that he use only computer-generated animals going forward.
“It seems to PETA that instead of vainly defending himself, Jackson should be giving a firm assurance that this will never happen again. He is the CGI master and has the ability to make the animals and other interesting creatures in his movies 100 percent CGI, and PETA calls on him again to do so.”
The claims, which were first reported by the Associated Press on Monday, have come at a vulnerable time for Jackson and co., as “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is slated for release on December 14.