The Hobbit producers dismiss animal mistreatment claims

  • Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson and the producers of The Hobbit films have dismissed claims that animals died on set due to mistreatment.

    Animal rights group PETA has made allegations that up to 27 animals, including horses, sheep, goats and chickens, died during filming in New Zealand.

    The group said it plans to protest at the first film's forthcoming premieres.

    In a statement released on Monday, Jackson and his team said "no animals died or were harmed on set during filming".

    "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," they continued.

    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will debut in Wellington next week ahead of premieres in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.