It’s tragic enough that three horses have died, apparently from incompetent handling for the sake of a TV show. What’s even more disturbing in the article is the Horse Racing Board’s response in the last paragraph. I might be stating the obvious but those guys aren’t doing themselves or their industry any favours by sounding so indifferent:
‘The sport of kings has rarely looked so sumptuous as in Dustin Hoffman’s tele- vision series Luck, which earned at least a portion of its critical acclaim for its portrayal of thoroughbreds barrelling around the sun-kissed racetracks of southern California.
Off camera though, things aren’t so pretty. Cable channel HBO, which is currently filming the drama’s second series, has abruptly suspended the use of horses on its set following the sudden death of yet another one of its equine performers…
…This week’s fatal accident was witnessed by Gary Beck, a vet. “The horse was on her way back to the stall when she reared, flipped over backwards, and struck her head on the ground,” he said, in a statement. Since the injury was too serious to respond to treatment, euthanasia the only appropriate move, he added.
The California Horse Racing Board, which has allowed HBO to use Santa Anita during its off-season, said that a full post mortem will now be carried out on the creature. “Unfortunately, we see several of these injuries in the stable area every year,” said its equine medical director, Rick Arthur. “They are more common than people realise.“
This kind of animal death is not an ‘accident’ it’s a preventable traumatic injury caused by incompetence and poor handling. Surely a media giant like HBO has the resources to afford proper animal handlers on the set!