A mere 24 hours after temporarily suspending the use of horses during production on HBO’s horse-racing drama Luck, pending an investigation into the death of a third horse on set, the network announced their decision to close down production on the series.
HBO released a statement addressing their decision: “ While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they wont in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision.”
The announcement came on the heels of an inquiry by the American Humane Association into the death of a third horse on the set of the show. The first season had been plagued with two equine deaths, which prompted animal rights group PETA to move forward with a complaint against the network. PETA’s vice president of laboratory investigations, Kathy Guillermo, addressed a letter to HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo claiming:
“During the filming of the first season, there were reportedly four humane officers monitoring the use of horses. We are told that the production company, to it’s shame, did not always follow their advice, and this accounts, at least in part, for the two deaths during filming. These officers had rejected as unfit a number of horses who, we are now told, have been returned to the Luck set for the filming of the second season.”Though the cancellation of the series is a victory for the animal rights movement, it came too late and the cost was much too high.
Photo credit: HBO