Months ago some rumours surfaced in the media about the alleged mistreatment of horses during the making of LOTR. It was left to the American Humane Association to prove or disprove the allegations, as concrete evidence seemed very hard to pin down at the time. The LA Times has a long article here on the AHA’s animal-rights work on film sets and LOTR is mentioned:

“More recently, AHA officials waited months to weigh in about persistent reports that horses were abused during the New Zealand filming of “Lord of the Rings,” part of New Line Cinema’s long-anticipated $270-million trilogy. The allegations sparked local news reports and investigations by New Zealand government officials, who found nothing.

Despite receiving dozens of e-mails since October alleging mistreatment on the set of “Lord of the Rings,” AHA officials did not contact or initiate a meeting with New Line executives until mid-January.

Barrett said the AHA is stretched too thin to look into the non-SAG production–among Hollywood’s most expensive projects ever. “We frankly didn’t have the resources to go and beat down the door and try to argue with them about it,” she said.

In a meeting last month, AHA officials “asked questions and we answered all of them,” said New Line spokesman Steve Elzer. “They were more than satisfied with our answers.” Nevertheless, Barrett said that none of the three “Lord of the Ring” films will receive the association’s endorsement, since no AHA monitor was invited to the set.”