Horse Racing Drama on Defensive Over Deaths of Animal Stars

Feb 7, 2012  •  Post A Comment

HBO’s "Luck," a new drama about the thoroughbred racing world, is responding to criticism of its treatment of horses after the deaths of two animal actors, reports the New York Observer.

Animal-rights organization PETA noted that a horse was euthanized after suffering a "severe fracture" while falling during a race sequence, according to the story. HBO said a scene in the pilot that shows a horse breaking a leg didn’t include the animal that died, noting that instead the scene was created using trained movie horses and CGI, the story says.

Another horse died following an injury during filming of a race sequence for the show’s seventh episode, the piece adds.

Because of the deaths, the American Humane Association said the two episodes don’t carry the organization’s familiar certification “No Animals Were Harmed,” according to the article. The certification has been given back to the show after HBO worked with the AHA on improving safeguards, the piece adds.

HBO commented on the new safeguards in an email to the publication, saying: “After the second accident, production was suspended while the production worked with AHA and racing industry experts to adopt additional protocols specifically for horse racing sequences. The protocols included but were not limited to the hiring of an additional veterinarian and radiography of the legs of all horses being used by the production. HBO fully adopted all of AHA’s rigorous safety guidelines before production resumed.”

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