The Hobbit, the upcoming epic fantasy-adventure film trilogy, directed, co-written and produced by Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) and based on J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit will debut on theaters this December 14.
However, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first installment of the prequel trilogy to Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is being accused by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals of the killing of 27 animals during the film's production in New Zealand, for which PETA is calling for a boycott.
The film, starring Ian McKellen (X-Men: The Last Stand, The Da Vinci Code), has been described as "a nightmare for animals" by a PETA spokeswoman. However, the allegations were rejected by Jackson, who said in a statement, “extraordinary measures were taken to make sure that animals were not used during action sequences or any other sequence which might create undue stress for the animals involved." Jackson also denied that animals died or were harmed during filming.
But this won't stop activists from protesting at the premiere of the movie in Wellington, New Zealand, on November 28; and in the UK and the United States in December. PETA insists, "in all, five horses, a pony, and several goats, sheep, and chickens were allegedly maimed or killed: the most deaths on a single film production we have ever heard of.”
In addition, PETA says that Jackson, "a master at computer-generated imagery" could have created CGI animals in order to avoid real ones. But Jackson pushed back in a statement claiming, “over 55% of all shots using animals in The Hobbit are in fact computer-generated; and that the American Humane Association "monitored all use of animals in the production."