PETA is demanding that HBO conduct an internal investigation after whistleblowers reported that a horse died on the set of the television series The Gilded Age. According to the whistleblower, the horse was 23 years old and had possible health issues. The animal reportedly died during filming in Nassau County after sustaining head trauma and was seen frothing at the mouth.

“If it weren’t for these whistleblowers, the apparent death of this vulnerable horse would likely have been swept under the rug,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is reminding HBO that watchful, compassionate people can be found on every set and is urging it to stop using horses before someone else dies in its productions.”

HBO responded to PETA’s call for an investigation by saying that the horse’s death was unavoidable and the animal had died from natural causes. They are launching an internal investigation.

“HBO was saddened to learn that on June 28, during filming on the set of The Gilded Age, a horse collapsed and died, likely of natural causes, according to a veterinarian’s preliminary findings,” HBO said in a statement. “The network claims to have followed all of the proper precautions and a better understanding of what exactly happened will come in time. Following AHA’s [American Humane Association] recommendation, the horse was transported to a facility for a full necropsy. AHA has interviewed all involved personnel, and full necropsy results are pending.”

Source: Wall Street Journal/Youtube

PETA says that HBO has a history of equine deaths on set. One show, Luck, was even canceled after the group revealed that three horses had died. Many of the horses are unfit, arthritic, pushed beyond their capacity, and not accustomed to TV sets, PETA says. They are demanding that HBO refrain from using equines in any future production.

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