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.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Subscriptions and Marketing Assistant

£12500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A subscriptions and marketing a...

Recruitment Genius: Advertising / Media Sales Executive

£15000 - £22200 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious candidate is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Sub-editor - Editorial - Publishing

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A sub-editor is required to joi...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'