In March of last year 'Luck', a show about horse racing starring Dustin Hoffman, was cancelled amid a scandal surrounding the treatment of the horses that appeared on the show. Now, HBO - the network upon which the show was seen - is being sued by an ex-employee of the American Humane Association for the treatment of the horses, as well as the AHA wrongful termination after she was sacked.
As the Hollywood Reporter writes, Barbara Casey claims that "the AHA observed drugged horses, underweight and/or sick horses routinely used for work on the show, the misidentification of horses by producers so that animal safety reps couldn't track their medical histories". Despite the deaths of four horses, both HBO and the AHA claimed no horses were harmed. Eventually, though, the show was cancelled in the light of the complaints. One in particular was from PETA. HBO's statement read: "We took every precaution to ensure that our horses were treated humanely and with the utmost care, exceeding every safeguard of all protocols and guidelines required of the production. Barbara Casey was not an employee of HBO, and any questions regarding her employment should be directed to the AHA."
Casey also claims that "AHA bowed to political and financial pressure and... engaged in efforts to conceal and cover up the production defendants' criminal activities."
The Hobbit production also came under fire for the treatment of animals on set during filming in Australia. Hopefully both of these incidents will raise the standards for the care of animals in media productions.