'The Hobbit' Filming Results in 27 Animal Deaths

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Warner Bros./New Line/MGM

Talk about your unexpected journeys -- a new report claims that 27 animals died due to the unsafe environment at a farm run by the production crew while Peter Jackson was filming 'The Hobbit.'

The AP reports that the animal wranglers involved with the production of 'The Hobbit' are citing the production company as responsible for the deaths of 27 animals during filming. Animals were kept on a farm "filled with bluffs, sinkholes and other 'death traps.'" Approximately 150 animals were housed at a nearby farm location, and though director Peter Jackson admits to the deaths of horses, goats, chicken, and one sheep and said that at least two of the horses' deaths were avoidable but also claims that most of the deaths were due to natural causes.

The American Humane Association, which is responsible for keeping tabs on the health and safety of animals during movie shoots, says that no animals died while filming, but they aren't in charge of overseeing the enclosures and housing for animals while off set. These 27 deaths seem to illuminate a problem with the AHA's ability to monitor animal welfare both on and off set -- if their guidelines included more strict monitoring of animals when they're taken to off-site housing, then perhaps these 27 deaths could have been minimized.

The AP spoke with four wranglers who all confirmed that the farm where the animals were being held was unsuitable, saying they spoke up many times to their superiors and executives at Warner Bros., but their concerns went unanswered.

Jackson released a statement saying:

We are currently investigating these new allegations and are attempting to speak with all parties involved to establish the truth.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are scheduled to protest premieres of 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' in New Zealand, the U.S., and the U.K.

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