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November 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Animal activists were up in arms Monday following accusations by wranglers working on The Hobbit that animals used in the production had been killed or suffered injuries at a ranch far from the actual sets of the movie. The American Humane Association, which is monitoring the welfare of the animals on the set, said that, as a result of the reports, it is seeking to extend its oversight to conditions off the set. AHA President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert said in a statement, “There are too many incidents off the set, and this must stop. It is vital that we work with the industry to bring the kind of protection we have for animals during filming to all phases of production.” Another animal-rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), threatened to picket next month’s premieres of the first installment of the series. However, early today (Tuesday) director Peter Jackson denied the accusations, maintaining that the film company had spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to upgrade the housing and stable facilities in 2011. “We regret that some of these accusations by wranglers who were dismissed from the film over a year ago are only now being brought to our attention,” Jackson said. “We are currently investigating these new allegations and are attempting to speak with all parties involved to establish the truth.”