While no animals were harmed during the actual filming, when the cameras weren't rolling the production company kept them on a farm filled with bluffs and other "death traps," the wranglers say.
A spokesman for director Peter Jackson, whose "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is scheduled to launch with a red-carpet premiere on Nov. 28, admitted that some horses, goats chickens and one sheep died at the farm where they were kept for the movie.
"We do know those deaths were avoidable and we took steps to make sure it didn't happen again," the spokesman told Sky News.
Animal wrangler Chris Landridge told a particularly sad story to TNT Magazine about a pony named Rainbow.
“When I arrived at work in the morning, the pony was still alive but his back was broken," said Landridge. "He’d come off a bank at speed and crash-landed. He was in a bad state.”
Landridge and his wife quit their jobs as handlers in February 2011 and the farm was investigated by the American Humane Association in August 2011, TNT Magazine reported.