The producers of a new Lord Of The Rings spin-off show have been condemned after a horse died on the set.
Amazon Studios revealed in a statement that the animal suffered a fatal cardiac arrest during filming for the second season of Prime Video series Lord Of The Rings: Rings Of Power.
“We are deeply saddened to confirm that a production horse died on 21 March,” an Amazon spokesperson said.
“The incident took place in the morning whilst the horse was being exercised prior to rehearsals.
“The trainer was not in costume and filming had yet to commence. Both a veterinarian and a representative of the American Humane Association were present at the time.
“The independent necropsy has confirmed that the horse died of cardiac failure.”
Sources near the “Rings Of Power” production told Variety that more than 30 horses were being employed on the day of the death, and said the animal suffered cardiac arrest while standing with around 20 others.
‘Exploiting animals for their art’
PETA senior vice president Lisa Lange said: “It seems that living underground with the orcs is par for the course for the producers of The Rings Of Power, because they have the option to use CGI, mechanical rigs, and other humane methods that wouldn’t run vulnerable horses to death on set.
“PETA is calling on the show’s creators – and all other producers – to take on a new quest without using any real horses.
“If they can’t avoid exploiting animals for their art, they should find a new medium, because no one wants to see a spin-off for TV with torment as the theme.”
The horses for the show were being provided by the Devil’s Horsemen supplier, which has worked on productions including Game Of Thrones, The Crown and Wonder Woman.
It follows previous criticism of the Lords Of The Rings franchise over the treatment of horses.
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The Lord Of The Rings franchise has come under fire previously for its treatment of live horses.
Director Peter Jackson was criticised in 2012 over the production of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey after claims three horses died, along with “six goats, six sheep and a dozen chickens”.
PETA launched a petition in response urging people to “refuse to see movies” in which animals have been harmed.
Jackson later denied what he described as “unsubstantiated” allegations that any animals had been mistreated.
“The production regrets that PETA has chosen to make such a serious allegation, which has distressed many of the dedicated Kiwis who worked with animals on the film,” he wrote on Facebook.