PETA planning to protest The Hobbit due to 27 animal deaths

With The Hobbit so close to seeing its theatrical release and more footage showing up, seemingly, with each day, things are looking great for Peter Jackson and company. But into every life a little rain must fall, and so enter People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has some concerns over the treatment of animals used in the upcoming film.

While it seems that all animals were filmed safely and with due respect while on set, problems arose with where they were being held, resulting in the deaths of up to 27 animals. Approximately 150 animals were housed on a farm near Wellington that, allegedly, had a number of sinkholes, bluffs and various other potential "death traps."

Peter Jackson's spokesman, Matt Dravitzki, acknowledged some unnecessary deaths, but insisted that many animals died of natural causes. This is in direct opposition to four wranglers who all raised concerns about where the animals were being contained. One wrangler, Chris Langridge, even went as far as to bring in his own fences in order to pen in the horses so as to protect them from dangerous bluffs and sinkholes. According to Langridge, however, it ultimately proved to be too impossible a task.

Some of the wranglers, including one Johnny Smythe, took their concerns to their bosses, only to be ignored and, in the case of Smythe, fired for being too argumentative. At this point, PETA stepped in to shine a light on what was happening.

PETA will be hosting protests in the U.S., the United Kingdom and New Zealand. While spokesmen continue to insist that "We do know those deaths were avoidable, and we took steps to make sure it didn't happen again" and "are attempting to speak with all parties involved to establish the truth," the wranglers and PETA seem to feel the damage has been done.

Where do you land on this issue? Is The Hobbit worth boycotting if you're an animal lover? Or is the protest alone enough to shine a light on this issue?

(via The Huffington Post)

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