Already a comedic gem, HBO’s Silicon Valley seems to find at least one yearly scene worthy of headline, whether the elaborate hand job proof of Season 1, or a monkey making creative use of a prosthetic arm last year, and Season 3 is no different. Yes, the graphic depiction of horse sex has breached Silicon Valley, and shock of shocks, PETA is none-too-thrilled about it.

The scene in question has been the subject of interview rounds with creator Mike Judge for days, the brunt of which have seen the Office Space creator acknowledging some editing work to place the mating animals onscreen with stars Stephen Toblowsky and Thomas Middleditch. Still, nothing about the scene itself was done in simulation, and despite on-set approval the from American Humane Association, PETA nonetheless took issue with the “arranged rape”:

It may seem fun, but the mares are tethered during the process with no means of escape and the stallions are put on a lead rope and dragged to the mares to be mounted. Neither the stallions or the mares have any choice, it’s assembly line breeding for profit.… There’s an overpopulation crisis in racing as most horses will not win races, and are therefore discarded and sent on hideous journeys by truck in all weather to Mexico or Canada to be turned into meat.

Naturally, Mike Judge could only add fuel to the fire:

I actually have an email from [senior vp comedy programming] Amy Gravitt where she said, ‘I can’t believe I’m saying this, but can we have more screen time with the horses having sex?’ So we put in more shots.

Granted, it wouldn’t be the first time equine welfare was called into question at HBO, following the myriad controversy of David Milch horse racing drama Luck, but did Silicon Valley cross the line? How might Season 4 top the gag, if not the remaining episodes of Season 3?

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