HBO Cancels LUCK after Third Horse Death

Story by by Matt Goldberg of Collider.com

HBO Shows Compassion by Shutting Down Production

HBO has canceled David Milch and Michael Mann‘s horse-racing drama Luck after the third death of a horse this season.  The show had been picked up for a second season and filming was underway, but on Tuesday a horse was injured when she “reared, flipped over backwards, and struck her head on the ground.”  The on-set veterinarian determined that humane euthanasia was appropriate.  Two horses were injured and euthanized during the first season, so apparently HBO was operating on the “Three Dead Horses and You’re Out” rule.

While HBO probably renewed Luck due to its cost and star prestige (the show stars Dustin Hoffman), it wasn’t turning into a breakout hit the size of Boardwalk Empire or Game of Thrones.  This isn’t to say that HBO would have gone on in spite of the horse deaths had Luck been a bigger hit, but I don’t think any of the network executives are going to be upset at losing an expensive show that had soft ratings.  Hit the jump for a statement from the network.

Here’s HBO’s statement on canceling Luck [via THR]:

“It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann together with HBO have decided to cease all future production on the series LUCK.

Safety is always of paramount concern. We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horseracing anywhere with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures. While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision.

We are immensely proud of this series, the writing, the acting, the filmmaking, the celebration of the culture of horses, and everyone involved in its creation.”

TN’s Niceley Slips Horse Slaughter Provision into Bill

Information Supplied by Laura Allen of Animal Law Coalition

More “Back Room” Politics at Play

Tennessee Rep. Frank Nicely is back this session with another effort to smooth the way for a horse slaughterhouse to open in the state. House Bill 3619 just cleared the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee and could be scheduled for a vote by the full House at any time.

Until the committee hearing the bill simply directed the agriculture commissioner to post and keep current statistics and other information required to be collected about equines and to provide that information upon request to the Tennessee Equine Association.

Harmless enough, except that during the committee hearing on March 13, 2012, Nicely introduced amendments under a new declaration that “the General Assembly intends to encourage the location of equine slaughter and processing facilities in Tennessee that meet…requirements”. The new provisions approved by the committee would make it more difficult to challenge issuance of a permit for a horse slaughter facility by requiring a bond equal to 20% of the estimated cost of building the facility or operational costs, if those can be determined.  Venue would be limited to the court where the facility is located and not also where the defendant can be found or does business.

A challenger would be required to pay the slaughter facility’s legal fees and court costs if a court finds the suit was without merit or brought for an “improper purpose” including harassment, delay or interference. If a plaintiff does not prevail ultimately after obtaining an injunction, the plaintiff “is liable for all financial losses the facility suffers” as a result of an injunction halting  operations.

The bill is similar to a Montana law passed in 2009.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

If you live in Tennessee, find your state legislators here. Write or call now and urge them to vote NO on H.B. 3619.