PETA goes after Fox 2000's 'Flicka'

With a second horse killed after being critically injured on the set of Fox 2000 Pictures’ remake of “My Friend Flicka,” animal rights group PETA has requested that the American Humane Assn. give the pic a rating of “Monitored Unacceptable.” Such a rating from the AHA — which supervises studio pics with animal actors — would signify that the production filmed “an at-risk segment unauthorized by American Humane, resulting in injury or death of an animal.”

In response, Fox 2000 topper Elizabeth Gabler accused the animal rights group of having exaggerated details to turn “a tragic accident” into “a circus.” She also noted that four AHA observers on the set had approved the scene and the equipment used.

“This whole situation is being treated with inaccuracy and hysteria,” said Gabler. “I am a horse owner. I have six of them, and they are like my children. Every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of these animals. There is nobody more devastated than I am, and (PETA is) doing this only to supplement their position.”

On Monday, a rodeo horse being filmed on the set of “Flicka” tripped and fell, snapping its neck. On Tuesday PETA requested an investigation by Los Angeles County Animal Control, alleging that conditions on set violated California penal code, but county officials ruled the death an accident.

(During filming on April 11, another horse had suffered a compound fracture in one of its hind legs and was subsequently euthanized.)

Meanwhile, Gabler said that the remaining 22 days of shooting should go smoothly.

“If we had any more of these scenes to shoot, I’d be worried,” said Gabler, “but we don’t. We’re doing all we can, and I don’t think anything else could be done.”

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