Filming of the Lord Of The Rings series has been hit by a shock on-set death after a horse during production.
The hit Amazon spin-off series, The Rings of Power, is currently filming its second season in the UK, following a hit first season that debuted last year.
But the set was recently hit with tragedy when a production horse died following a cardiac arrest on March 21.
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“We are deeply saddened to confirm that a production horse died,” said a spokesperson for Amazon Studios on Sunday morning (March 26)
“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 horse was supplied by respected outfitter The Devil’s Horsemen, which has provided horses for many shows including Game of Thrones.
It was one of about 30 on set on that day and is apparently the first on-set animal fatality in the company’s history which spans 50 years.
It’s been reported that the horse is said to have shown no health problems prior to its death and was also standing among 20 other horses before it died.
Following the horse’s death, animal rights organization PETA hit out at the show bosses and condemned the use of live animals on set.
“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,” said Senior Vice President Lisa Lange.
“PETA is calling on the show’s creators — and all other producers — to take on a new quest without using any real horses. 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.”
It’s not the first time, The Lord Of The Rings franchise has come under fire for its treatment of live horses.
In 2012, Director Peter Jackson was criticised over the production of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey following claims three horses died, along with "six goats, six sheep and a dozen chickens.”
PETA launched a petition in response to the claims urging the public to "refuse to see movies" in which animals have been harmed.
Peter later denied the allegations, claiming there was “absolutely no mistreatment and no abuse.”
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