“I came across the following & found it very interesting”.

“As a horse owner & rider I was horrified when I found out that 2 horses from the new series, Luck, had to be euthanised after fatal falls; then sadly a third death occurred! Click this link Luckto see my other post on the subject. The following is a more in-depth look at the incidents, how mechanical horses & cameras were used & how the American Human Association monitors T.V shows & films etc.”

During the filming of the new HBO series, Luck, two fatal accidents occurred several months apart — one during the filming of the pilot and one during the filming of the seventh episode. The two racehorses stumbled and fell during short racing sequences.

On the set of "Luck" TV series about horse racing

The horses were checked immediately afterwards by the on site veterinarians and in each case a severe fracture deemed the condition inoperable. The decision was that the most humane course of action was euthanasia.

An American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative™ was monitoring the animal action on the set when the incidents occurred and observed the veterinarian on the set perform the soundness checks and approve the horses, prior to racing them. A full investigation and necropsy was conducted for each accident immediately afterwards.

American Humane Association is deeply saddened by the deaths of these two wonderful animals. Protecting the welfare of the animals we serve is not only our mission, it is the passion of each and every one of us who works for this program. Because of these accidents, the two episodes in question do not carry the full certification, “No Animals Were Harmed”®. To provide the highest possible degree of scrutiny with serial productions, each episode is monitored individually and given a rating.

No such incidents occurred in other episodes, which did allow them to achieve certification. Following the second incident, American Humane Association insisted that production be suspended and imposed additional stringent soundness protocols. These included, but were not limited to, daily training and care records, microchips in all of the horses, hiring an additional veterinarian to do the comprehensive soundness checks at the top of the day, and radiographs of the legs of all horses being considered for use on the show. We insisted that these protocols be in place before any filming could resume. HBO agreed to all our requests and worked collaboratively regarding these many additional safety guidelines and precautions, and resumed filming once all of the horses in the show stable were radiographed and those deemed at risk were pulled.

Luck is a series about the horse racing industry. Throughout the series there are numerous racing sequences as well as milder action with horses in barns, being walked, groomed, bathed, etc. Some of the racing scenes appear to be very intense; horses are seen running at fast speeds, and at times close to one another and the railing that surrounds the track.

The extraordinary amount of horse work incorporated in this plotline called for several American Humane Association Certified Animal Safety Representatives™ to ensure that all guidelines were met, including the additional precautions, and all the animal action was monitored.

The racing sequences were filmed at Santa Anita Racetrack in Southern CA. An American Humane Association Certified Animal Safety Representative™ was present when the vet checked each horse before filming began, after each racing scene, and at the end of each day. All grounds were inspected before each race and cast, crew and takes were limited. Mandatory daily safety meetings were held each morning before filming began. The horses that appeared in the race sequences were racehorses that were conditioned to this racing type of environmentt. Some sequences required trained movie horses to work with specially designed camera cars.

Read more here via TV Review – HBO Series: Luck | No Animals Were Harmed.

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