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'Hobbit' animal welfare claims: New Line, Warners defend Peter Jackson

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The Hobbit studio New Line Cinema has stood by the movie's producer/director Peter Jackson in the wake of claims of animal abuse.

A whistleblower alleged earlier this week that 27 animals had died on the New Zealand set of the movie trilogy, and that animals were mistreated and poorly housed.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins alongside Ian McKellen as Gandalf in 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'

© New Line Cinema



"Warner Bros Pictures and New Line Cinema join Peter Jackson and the producers of The Hobbit in vigorously refuting and condemning accusations of animal abuse on the films," read a statement jointly issued with Warner Bros on Tuesday (November 20).

"The production acted swiftly and responsibly in addressing any incidents involving animals in its care throughout the long filming process, and in fact, measures were taken to protect all farm animals, including those uninvolved with the films."

The studios have also alleged that the claims were made by "freelance animal wranglers" who were fired from the production.

Peter Jackson on the set of The Hobbit
'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' still


Jackson has also vigorously denied the accusations, issuing a statement in which he and his co-producers said: "[We] completely reject the accusations that 27 animals died due to mistreatment during the making of the films.

"Extraordinary measures were taken to make sure that animals were not used during action sequences or any other sequence that might create undue stress for the animals involved."

The first instalment in The Hobbit trilogy - titled The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - is due to be released on December 14.

Photo gallery - 'The Hobbit' character posters:

Watch a TV spot for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey below:

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