UPDATE: Game of Thrones and Animal Cruelty Story Retracted

Game of Thrones

PLEASE NOTE:  The following article was based upon reports that PETA has launched a campaign against HBO’s Game of Thrones for displays of animal cruelty in the popular series.  We have been contacted by People for the Ethnical Treatment of Animals denying the allegation.  Further investigation disclosed that the story was originally published by a satire site and was then picked up by other media outlets, including GuardianLV.  We regret that we have helped to perpetuate this hoax.  PETA is an ethical organization that is deeply committed to an important cause and any implied disrespect for their work is deeply regretted.  PETA has asked us to take the article down, but we are unable to do that because it violates our policies.  We believe that simply taking down an article isn’t good enough because we don’t want to create the impression that we didn’t make the mistake. We did. We regret it, and beg your pardon.

The popular HBO series Game of Thrones has drawn condemnation from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for displays of animal cruelty on the show. According to a PETA spokesperson, Game of Thrones should be denounced for its unethical displays of animal torture and murder, especially against horses. The wide popularity of the show has PETA worried that such regular displays might lead to a lessening of concern for animal protection. PETA is reportedly spending millions of dollars on an animal cruelty awareness campaign and to have the show canceled.

Game of Thrones features an unusually large animal cast for a regular series. The horses are provided by a stable based in Buckinghamshire, England called The Devil’s Horsemen, which rigorously trains over 70 horses for film stunts or beauty shots. The stable’s stunt trainer, Gerard Naprous, has trained horses and riders for films such as Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Rob Roy, Braveheart, and Black Beauty. He is often seen in medieval tournaments and equestrian demonstrations in England and elsewhere showing off the stunt talents of his stable.

The famous direwolves of the show are played by Mahlek Northern Inuit Dogs, a breed known for its friendliness, prominent nose and stamina. Although Northern Inuit Dogs were first bred in England in the 1980s and only became an official breed of dog in 1998, they have quickly become a favorite of film animal trainers because of their dramatic features and submissive habits.

Other animals on Game of Thrones include ravens and the Internet darling Ser Pounce, a domestic long hair cat, whose appearance on the show in Season Four solidified Tommen’s reputation as “nicer than Joffrey.” Bryan Cogman, the writer for Oathkeeper, the episode that contained Ser Pounce, remarked on Twitter that the animal was a nightmare to work with, as most cats are under hot lights and a crowd of people.

Animal cruelty in Hollywood has long been a worry for animal rights activists and concerned journalists and actors. An exposé by Hollywood Reporter in November of 2013 uncovered animal abuse during filming of several major Hollywood films, including Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, Disney’s Eight Below and others. Four horses died during the filming of the HBO series Luck in 2012, an event which caused the network to cancel the show completely. All of the abuses, which included near-drowning, death, and punishment, were carried out under the stewardship of the American Humane Association, which has since lost a significant amount of reputation in animal rights circles.

The goal of PETA’s condemnation of the series appears to be aimed at exposing what the show has the potential of unleashing, rather than at denouncing actual mistreatment of animals on the set. Game of Thrones producers have denied mistreatment of animals during filming, and noted Vegan Peter Dinklage recently went on record saying that if it were occurring on the show, he would not be in it. PETA’s concern is with the realism of the fictional animal cruelty on display. The popularity of Game of Thrones, in their estimation, will diminish awareness of actual animal cruelty, and increase negligence and disregard of animals.

Warning: video includes violent images which some may find disturbing. 

By Steve Killings

National Report
Hollywood Reporter
Horse Nation

25 Responses to "UPDATE: Game of Thrones and Animal Cruelty Story Retracted"

  1. Div   December 17, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Who cares about humans?? They’ve got a mouth to speak. Animals can’t speak so why wouldn’t people be worried about animals getting hurt. Humans are screwed up!!! Wonder why god created us.

    • Red   December 25, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      I agree with everything you said

  2. robby   September 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    These animals don’t have a choice in the matter. Every human that was killed in the Game of Thrones chose to be an actor. The animals are forced to act and do tricks for entertainment… And some even killed like the deer that was being butchered in Season 1. Episode 7.That is what’s so disturbing about this…

  3. Megan   March 21, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    While I can understand PETA’s worries about the violence towards animals on the show, we need to put this in perspective because there is equal violence towards humans on the show and that is not to say the show is advocating violence it’s just accurately depicting what life was like in the middle ages. Yes I know Westoros is fictional but the middle ages were actually still like this. And so logically we would say that it’s just trying to portray accuracy for the time period and no show or book or movie that portrays violence or murder or torture is advocating for these things to be normalized, they are simply telling a story and unfortunately these things exist and so sometimes they will appear in stories. And while I and grew with this side of the argument, about it just portraying accuracy for the time period, I can see the other side of the argument too because personally when I first started watching GoT I couldn’t keep my eyes open during some of the more violent scenes but now I and afraid that I barely flinch. I still get sick watching violence towards animals but this is because they and Greek re particularly innocent. The only time I cried equally for a human death just like I cried for any of the animal deaths was when Hodor died. Because he was so innocent. But I know not everyone thinks like me so the fact that I have got so used to the violence does worry me. And it is true that this apathy to violence can carry over into real life. For me though my solution would not be to try and eradicate all violent stories or shows because we simply cannot do that, there are too many and it would cut into freedom of speech and no expression which is very important but I think we need more efforts made in real life to make clear that the animal cruelty and other violence you see on shows like game of thrones are not think he norm now and that we have grown much more civilized since then and more empathetic towards others. More of an effort needs to be made in real life to continue to move forward in regards to animal rights and and human rights as well. We need to make sure we don’t start going backwards. But I doubt one show would help do that no matter how popular. Most people so not lose themselves so completely into a fictional world like I do and I know that. So my story is not the norm. I’m not denying it affects people’s perceptions though. We just need to make sure the voice for animal rights is strong enough to override any insidious perception changes that may worm their way into the minds of people who watch violent shows.

  4. Lauren Atkins   August 17, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    I own horses so it bothered me at first but the show is so addicting

  5. Brandi   July 26, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    I tried to watch the popilar show tonite and ran across the episode where the horse was hacked at. The episode at that point disturbed me so badly I couldnt watch anymore. It was unexpected and deeply disturbing. Wont attempt to watch again.

  6. Jen Ani   July 15, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Of course it’s not real. It’s fiction. It’s make-believe. It’s capitalism.

  7. Observer   July 9, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    Game of Thrones is for retards who love the medieval stories while living in the 21st century. They don’t understand the modern world’s realities so they cling to the made up fantasies.

  8. kbiersack   February 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Please do not support PETA, as it is far from ethical. They literally use nudity and shock value to detract from the fact that they’re extremists who couldn’t care less about animals.

    They claim that milk is racist, dogs don’t need to eat meat, and killing an animal in self defense is murder while they produce softcore porno and kill 98% of all the healthy animals they take in.

    Oh the irony is rich.

  9. Verex   January 3, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Ethical or ethNical?

  10. jayy634 none   September 21, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    Lol.. it did’t even look real

  11. 22asd22   June 22, 2015 at 5:55 am

    So did they really kill that horse?

    • C   July 9, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      No, they did not. You could have read it.

  12. Protector of the Realm   June 19, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Seriously? They decapitate an awful lot of humans, but we’re all hung up on one horse?

    • Charel   February 5, 2017 at 3:06 am

      yes we dont care about humans because they suck anyway where as animals are innocent

    • robby   September 3, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      These animals don’t have a choice in the matter. Every human that was killed in the Game of Thrones chose to be an actor. The animals are forced to act and do tricks for entertainment… And some even killed like the deer that was being butchered in Season 1. Episode 7.That is what’s so disturbing about this…

  13. tessarosequeen   June 18, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    I cringed at that part. It’s so disgustingly realistic and horrifying!

  14. Janet Price   March 24, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    This was incredibly inhumane! Even though this is a show only for adult viewers, it still doesnt make it right to decapitate an animal. Many people find this offensive including me. Game of Thrones directors,producers, etc should be more sensitive. This was disgraceful and should not happen again.

    • Thérèse Burchianti   May 5, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      Definetly unnecessary cruelty…go in a different direction please, Game of Thrones. There’s no need to perpetuate animal cruelty when, in real life, we are still fighting an uphill battle!

  15. Diane Randle   November 15, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Ridiculous that PETA thinks people are so stupid they will become desensitized by a FICTIONAL series that depicts animals in situations where they are skinned for cooking, killed in battle etc. I am a vegetarian. I have also worked in film including a World War I epic that had dead animals strewn across battlefields – they were made if latex foam. Cruelty in Hollywood has been a problem because they sub contract out of course. And SPCA is lax with some investigations and monitoring. But I have worked on any films using animals and everyone involved was extremely mindful of the welfare if these animals, including mental stress. PETA is so stupid sometimes – they are their own worst enemy when they pull idiotic moves like comparing the women killed by serial killer Robert Picton with pigs slaughtered. How does PETA think it felt for the families if those women. I write to government and Canadian pork production organizations about abuse of pigs all the time but I lost all respect for PETA after that insensitive asinine campaign.

  16. Alexis Klatt   June 25, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Don’t believe it, folks! The world is Not a safe place anymore for anyone or anything. “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one” according to the Bible

  17. Steve Killings   June 24, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Apologies to my readers for this article. I was duped by the National Report site which is a hoax. This article has been retracted.

  18. Steve Killings   June 23, 2014 at 10:06 am

    I admit the site fooled me.

  19. Ugh Life Forever (@ughlifeforever)   June 23, 2014 at 9:20 am

    this article is referencing a parody site. journalism at it’s finest. don’t believe everything your ppl. ugh.

  20. In the Ceiling   June 22, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    As always, PETA doesn’t actually believe a word they’re saying. Fictional portrayals of animal cruelty diminishes awareness of actual animal cruelty? Even PETA aren’t stupid enough to think that. This is just another play for attention. In their business, making headlines equals profit, no matter what the headlines are for. Apparently they’ve moved on from video games because the video game subculture figured out that if you ignore these people, they go away. They’re hoping Game of Thrones’ audience is dumb enough not to know that.


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