Rein man: did Dustin Hoffman harm horses in his new drama?
Big-budget HBO series targeted by campaigners after two star performers had to be put down
Animal rights activists have criticised Dustin Hoffman's new television drama about horse-racing – Luck – after two of its equine performers had to be put down when they were injured on set.
"The two racehorses stumbled and fell during short racing sequences," the American Humane Association (AHA) said. "The horses were checked immediately afterwards by on-site veterinarians and, in each case, a severe fracture deemed the condition inoperable. The decision was that the most humane course of action was euthanasia."
The first fatality occurred during the filming of the pilot episode of Luck, which included a fictional scene of an injured horse being put down. The second animal was put down during filming of the seventh episode, though details of the deaths only recently came to light after neither episode displayed the AHA certification confirming that "no animals were harmed" in the making of the shows.
HBO, the US broadcaster behind Luck, said filming was suspended after the second death "while the production worked with AHA and racing industry experts to adopt additional protocols specifically for horse-racing sequences". These included "the hiring of an additional veterinarian and radiography of the legs of all horses being used by the production".
However, the second death prompted Peta to renew its call for existing safety rules to be tightened to protect animals in film and TV productions.
"Breakdowns don't just happen," Kathy Guillermo, the vice-president of Peta, told Entertainment Weekly. "Horses break down for a reason. Often, it has to do with the condition they're in at the time they're put on the track."
Hoffman produces and stars in the critically acclaimed Luck, which aims to shed light on the dark side of thoroughbred racing. Having attracted more than three million viewers for its first episode, the 10-part show has just been given a second season.
"While [Luck] does acknowledge how many thoroughbreds suffer catastrophic breakdowns and how horses are routinely doped, two dead horses in a handful of episodes exemplify the dark side of using animals in television, movies, and ads," said a blog post on the Peta website.
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for? The Independent quiz matches best political party for undecided voters ahead of the general election
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
Syria's 'circle of hell': Aleppo residents describe children without heads, streets filled with blood and injuries never before witnessed by surgeons
General Election 2015: Photographic history of Bullingdon Club tracked down - including new picture of David Cameron in his finery
- 1 'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
- 5 Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...
£50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Analyst / Digital Bus...
£30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...
Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...