The hottest gig in the world of animal acting these days is down under, for Peter Jackson's filming of the rest of his Hobbit trilogy. It drew interest from A-list New Zealand professionals like Nellie, the miniature Galloway cow, and Rainbow, a miniature pony. It also killed 27 of them. The AP's Nick Perry spoke to wranglers for the movie, who described the farm where The Hobbit's animals were being held as a "death trap" for the four-legged actors housed there. "A spokesman for trilogy director Peter Jackson on Monday acknowledged that horses, goats, chickens and one sheep died at the farm near Wellington where about 150 animals were housed for the movies, but he said some of the deaths were from natural causes," reports Perry. "One wrangler said that over time he buried three horses, as well as about six goats, six sheep and a dozen chickens."
The sad part is that the Animal Humane Association will still give the film the "No animals were harmed during the actual filming" tag, because as Perry explains, the organization only monitors set conditions, not the off-site farm where they were being held. (PETA, of course, has been griping about the series since September and is already planning protests for the first installment come December.)