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'Luck' horse deaths renew debate on use of animals in film

March 17, 2012 |  7:00 am

luck horse race

HBO's decision this week to halt production on "Luck" in the wake of three horse deaths has renewed debate about how animals are used in filmed entertainment.

HBO said it couldn't guarantee more accidents would not occur on the low-rated drama starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, but it also took pains to isolate the "Luck" case as unique given the dangers of horse racing — a point backed up by some experts.

The incident has put a fresh spotlight on the American Humane Assn., the nonprofit group that monitors more than 2,000 productions that use animal performers and is partly funded by the Screen Actors Guild. The AHA, criticized in the past for having overly close ties with the industry it's charged with monitoring, has vigorously defended its handling of the horses on "Luck."

Read more on the story in the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times.


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-- Richard Verrier

Photo: Horse races on the set of "Luck." Credit: Gusmano Cesaretti / HBO