Report: 27 animals died during filming of second The Hobbit

IT'S the comforting, post-credits pledge that lets animal lovers enjoy their favourite movies without worrying that anyone really killed Kevin Costner's horse or Tom Hanks's dog.

But now it seems the slogan "no animals were harmed" is not always to be believed after the publication of a report claiming animal cruelty is still rife in Hollywood.

A number of animals were injured or killed during the production of some of last year's biggest blockbusters, including Life of Pi and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, while the HBO horse-racing drama Luck was cancelled after four horses died during filming.

The report by The Hollywood Reporter accuses the American Humane Association (AHA) - the issuer of the familiar "no animals were harmed" credit - of not only failing to protect animals on set, but also of covering up those lapses. The real-life Bengal tiger that played the circus animal "Richard Parker" in the director Ang Lee's acclaimed Life of Pi was reported to have almost "drowned" during a sequence that was shot in a water tank in Taiwan; the report claims the animal was snagged with a catch rope and dragged to the side of the tank.

The Oscar-winning film was awarded the "no animals were harmed" stamp, despite an AHA official having witnessed the incident. 

>> Read more on The Independent here.