Update: March 14, 2012 – 3 horses have now died from this HBO series and finally the show has cancels filming.
The program is called “Luck” but not for these two horses.
When I learned that HBO was planning a drama about the world of horse racing I was saddened as I knew that animal actors would be used and that animal actors lead sad lives. (Dogs in movies may be an exception.) I didn’t realize that the show would actually stage horse races and that horses would die in those races just as they do on the real betting tracks.
News has now broken (thanks to PETA ) that a horse was killed in the filming of the pilot episode (pilots are filmed before a full series gets a go-ahead) which should have been enough to stop plans for the series. But the series got the green light and another horse was killed during the filming of episode seven. Each horse fractured a leg during a race scene and was later euthanized.
Unfortunately the death of a horse during the pilot was not enough for the American Humane Association, a group funded by the industry it is supposed to police, to choose to disassociate itself from the series. The good old AHA has been putting its stamp of approval, “No animals were harmed…” on almost all of the episodes. The New York Observer tells us that for the two episodes in which horses were actually killed the line in the credits is a more neutral, “The American Humane Association monitored the animal action.” That’s right, they monitored the deaths of the horses. That organization’s stamp is a joke — a deadly joke because people think it has meaning and thus animal loving people support entertainment that has the stamp. Most people have no idea that the group will monitor the deaths of animals on sets and then give a full stamp of approval to future similarly filmed episodes in which it so happens no animals are harmed.
Horse racing, with its thousands of animal deaths per year, is a barbaric and outdated form of entertainment, which HBO is making topical, perhaps even fashionable, with this well-executed series.
There is a petition you can sign asking HBO to adopt PETA’s standards on the set to try to prevent further horse deaths. But shouldn’t two deaths during the filming of the first season put an end to any plans for a second?
Please ask HBO to cancel those plans. HBO needs to hear that its generally conscious audience didn’t know horses were dying on the set and will stop watching when that news gets out. Please send a note of protest via the HBO feedback page and let the network know that one season of horse slaughter for entertainment is more than enough.
If you are watching the show, please stop — you are supporting the horse killing. Ask your friends to stop watching too. They surely have no idea that horses are dying on the set — especially as they have read in the credits that the American Humane Association is on the set “monitoring” the animal action.
Yours and the animals’,
(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts . You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts only if you do so unedited — leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line.)
Please go to here to check out Karen Dawn’s book, “Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals,” which in 2008 was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the “Best Books of The Year!”