HBO defends 'Luck' series after 2 horse deaths
Published February 10, 2012
LOS ANGELES – HBO is defending its treatment of horses used in the racetrack drama "Luck" after two of the animals died during production.
The horses were injured and euthanized during filming of the series, which stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte and has been renewed for a second season. The deaths, which occurred a year apart in 2010 and 2011, have drawn criticism from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The AHA's film and TV unit, the group sanctioned and supported by the entertainment industry to protect animals used in filming, called for a production halt at the Santa Anita Racetrack in suburban Arcadia after the second horse's death, said Karen Rosa, the AHA unit's senior vice president.
Thoroughbreds used for "Luck" run for shorter distances than in an actual race, with stunt horses and computer-generated special effects added to help bolster the completed scene, Rosa said.
Kathy Guillermo, a PETA vice president, said Friday the group does not consider the matter closed.
"Racing itself is dangerous enough. This is a fictional representation of something and horses are still dying, and that to me is outrageous," she said.
She said the AHA's guidelines failed to prevent the two deaths "so clearly they were inadequate." PETA contacted HBO for details on the accidents and euthanized horses and received a partial reply but was rebuffed when it requested more, Guillermo said.
HBO said it provided information about the accidents and safety protocols to PETA but that details on the horses' identities and their necropsy results were privileged. There was full compliance and transparency with the AHA, the premium channel said.
hbo may have an uphill battle in defending its love for horses: