People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the largest animal rights group in the world, is calling out Prime Video’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” series after a horse died on the show’s set.
The horse suffered cardiac arrest Tuesday during production of the Middle-earth series that’s based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved “The Lord of the Rings” novels, Variety reports.
Sources near the show’s production said the horse went into cardiac arrest while it was around roughly 20 other horses prior to rehearsals. There were more than 30 horses working on the day of the incident, the sources said.
Amazon Studios released a statement Sunday confirming the horse’s death, according to Variety.
PETA issued its statement shortly after hearing of the horse’s death, criticizing productions that could use computer-generated imagery but use real horses instead.
“It seems that living underground with the orcs is par for the course for the producers of ‘The Rings of Power,’ because they have the option to use CGI, mechanical rigs and other humane methods that wouldn’t run vulnerable horses to death on set,” PETA senior vice president Lisa Lange said in a written statement to Variety.
Urging the show’s creators to “take on a new quest without using any real horses,” Lange added, “If they can’t avoid exploiting animals for their art, they should find a new medium, because no one wants to see a spinoff for TV with torment as the theme.”
Amazon Studios’ statement Sunday gave further details on the horse’s death.
“The incident took place in the morning whilst the horse was being exercised prior to rehearsals. The trainer was not in costume and filming had yet to commence. Both a veterinarian and a representative of the American Humane Association were present at the time. The independent necropsy has confirmed that the horse died of cardiac failure,” the studio said.
Amazon Studios did not immediately respond to a HuffPost request for further comment.
Though PETA doesn’t condone the entertainment industry’s use of live horses, the animal rights organization says that if they are used on set, equine behaviorists should be present at all times. Equine behaviorists are horse trainers who work with the animals to keep any dangerous and negative behaviors at bay that could harm other animals and humans.
In September, “The Rings of Power” reached a milestone after the prequel’s premiere garnered 25 million global viewers in 24 hours, making it the biggest premiere in the history of Prime Video, the company said in a press release at the time.
Just a month before, the fantasy series was named the most expensive show of all time after Amazon spent a massive $465 million on its first season.
The series takes place thousands of years before the events of “The Lord of the Rings” and follows “an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth,” according to the show’s synopsis.
The cost of the series, which is locked in for a five-season run, is projected to reach $1 billion, according to Time.
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