Report: PETA Punk'd by Avatar's Six-Legged Horses

The activists at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have long had it out for Hollywood and its animal trainers, which made the organization's recent endorsement of Avatar for employing only CGI beasts something of a foregone conclusion. In a statement that also likened the "catlike" Na'vi culture to that of animals forced into unnatural lives away from their homes and families, PETA said it "applauds the movie's stunning special effects, which beautifully illustrate how unnecessary it is to subject animals to the stress of a film production." Touching, right? Would that it were true.

The American Humane Association, which is often charged with observing the handling and treatment of animals on movie sets (and thus has had more than a few falling outs with PETA over this kind of thing), today issued a statement of its own explaining that Avatar's horses in particular were motion-captured in a studio just like the rest of the cast. The painstaking detail of their participation sounds sort of humane, but will no doubt provide enough ammo for PETA to revoke its valentine to James Cameron as its "King of the World":

To prepare the animals for having their motion data recorded, trainers shaved small areas of fur or hair where the movements would be recorded, such as near joints and on the face. Velcro pads were attached to the shaved spots with a nontoxic, nonirritating silicone adhesive. White light-reflective balls were placed onto the Velcro to capture the motion data onto the computer. The exception to this was horses' tails, which were not shaved, but wrapped in a sensor-laden material. The adhesive and any additional markings were washed off each evening after filming ended.

Throughout the film, horses are seen outdoors standing or being ridden at a walk, canter or gallop. We also see people mounting, dismounting and falling off horses. These scenes were all filmed inside the capture studio. Horses were given ample room to start and stop running. ...For scenes in which horses appear to be near fire, trainers cued them to 'dance' or act skittish or afraid -- the horses were not actually agitated nor were they ever near fire.

So... Velcro glued to bare skin? Tails wrapped in "sensor-laden material"? This changes everything. And you don't even want to be around when PETA hears how infrequently Cameron's crew cleaned the banshee cages.

· Think 'No Animals Were Harmed' in the Making of Avatar? You're Right. [PR Newswire]


  • raincoaster says:

    Huh. Makes sense. But where'd they GET the six-legged horses in the first place.

  • Mark says:

    They probably started with the eight legged ones and chopped two legs off.

  • scarzilla says:

    PETA might have a better rep if their spokesmen quit putting foot to mouth

  • James Camero says:

    PETA is the worst thing that happened to the animals. Their "at any cost" idiotic behavior even makes animal loving people hate them. Being run by morons does not help the cause either.

  • Joshua says:

    @ Mark amazing answer

  • free movies says:

    because PETA was assuming they used no animals whatsoever, which was false. Moreover, you can't really reason with PETA. To them, if the animal is not living in the wild miles away from humans, then they are being treated inhumanely. When PETA finds out the truth they will do a complete 180.

  • hugejohnsonmcgee says:

    those poor horses, james cameron tortured them! PETA should hold james cameron down and shave him and force him to do things for their amusement and see how he likes it! facist animal hating jerk!

  • Asher says:

    I love PETA! There are so few organizations that advocate putting naked chicks in cages? Why are they talking about horses?

  • ryan says:

    i am a People Eating Tasty Animals(peta) memebers. i love animals....on my plate. get on my plate cow!!!

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