HBO Cancels Racing Show "Luck" Following Third Horse Death

Animal rights groups said they asked Los Angeles law enforcement to look into the show's treatment of animals on set

By Samantha Tata
|  Thursday, Mar 15, 2012  |  Updated 4:22 PM EDT
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Under fire from animal rights groups and in the wake of three on-set horse deaths, HBO has halted all future production of the new racing series "Luck."

The show has been criticized for its treatment of the animal stars, and has stopped production one before when the first of two horses died during first-season filming.

On Tuesday, a horse suffered a head injury on set when she reared back while being lead to a Santa Anita racetrack stable, according to HBO.

The horse was euthanized Tuesday at the track, where "Luck" was filming its second season, making it the third horse to die during production.

That night, HBO said they would cease filming with the animals. Now, the network has axed all future filming.

Tuesday's accident came a day after after PETA said it sent a complaint to Los Angeles law enforcement urging the agency to investigate the deaths of two other horses, and humane group that oversees Hollywood productions had issued an immediate demand "that all production involving horses shut down."

The American Humane Society said they were investigating the animals’ deaths.

In a statement, the network said it was with difficulty that they reached this decision.

"While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future," HBO said in a statement.

The show’s final two episodes are still set to air.

As for the future?

"We could see filmmakers and television producers turn to CGI in place of actual animals on set," said Daniel Miller with the Hollywood Reporter.

PETA applauded "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" for not using real apes and instead relying on CGI, computer generated imagery.

If "Luck" ever decides to return, PETA is calling on the production to use stock footage so the horses never have to leave the gate.

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