PETA sent a letter to HBO content director Casey Bloys asking the network to investigate the alleged death of a horse during production of “The Gilded Age.”
HBO released a statement following PETA’s request, confirming that a horse died on set on June 28.
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“HBO was saddened to learn that on June 28, during filming on the set of ‘The Gilded Age,’ a horse collapsed and died, likely of natural causes, based on a veterinarian’s preliminary findings,” HBO said in a statement. of press. “The safety and welfare of the animals in all of our productions is a top priority, and the producers of ‘The Gilded Age’ work with American Humane to ensure full compliance with all safety precautions. Following the AHA’s recommendation, the horse was transported to a facility for a complete necropsy. AHA has interviewed all personnel involved and full autopsy results are pending.”
PETA’s letter cited a whistleblower who reported that a 23-year-old horse with possible health problems died while filming Season 2 of the historical drama series in Nassau County.
“We are calling on HBO to confirm the death, conduct an immediate internal investigation into the incident, and hold accountable the party or parties that allowed it to happen,” Courtney Penley, PETA coordinator for animals in film and television. he wrote, as reported by Variety. “Finally, we ask that you take action so that something similar never happens again.”
This is the second publicly known occurrence where a horse dies during an HBO production. In 2012, the Michael Mann-produced racing drama series “Luck” was canceled after one season following news that three horses died during filming.
At the time, in a statement, HBO said: “Safety is always a primary concern. We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any existing protocol in horse racing anywhere with far fewer incidents than occur in racing or normally occur to horses in stables at night or in the pastures. While we maintain the highest possible safety standards, unfortunately accidents do happen and it is impossible to guarantee that they will not happen in the future. Consequently, we have come to this difficult decision.”
In PETA’s recent letter, Penley wrote, “These animals were out of shape, arthritic, drugged, and pushed beyond their capabilities. Many were not used to film sets and had not been trained, but they were retired racehorses. We hoped that HBO had learned something from that experience: namely, that horses are not props. They are sensitive animals that can be easily startled, and they must gradually get used to the changing conditions on a set.”
The PETA spokesperson went on to say that horses should not be used in film or television productions without an equine behavior specialist, if at all.
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