The Hits Keep Coming: Even After Cancellation, Luck’s Losing Streak Continues with Estimated $35 Million Cost, New PETA Filing

The nightmare just won't end for 'Luck' (HBO)

No wonder HBO turned down The Corrections…they probably can’t afford it! Yesterday, the news broke that Luck, the David Milch/Michael Mann show that was put out to pasture after suffering from low ratings and terrible P.R. due to multiple horse deaths, cost parent company Time Warner $35 million to cancel.

But it doesn’t end there…the sinkhole of a show could continue to balloon in costs despite being off the air, thanks to a new filing by PETA to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for an independent investigation of animal abuse.

Thanks to new evidence provided by a whistleblower who provided some explicit documents, PETA has a host of new complaints against the show. Their website lists the allegations against the program:

  • To save money, horses were underfed. One horse was an alarming 300 pounds underweight. Trainer Matt Chew proposed to cover the protruding ribs of another horse with a blanket during filming.
  • Horses who were sick were still used in filming.
  • Some sick horses disappeared from the set without explanation, and the trainer was warned that he could be charged with neglect.
  • Improperly trained, unprepared horses were used in racing sequences, endangering the horses and jockeys.
  • Horses were regularly drugged, including being tranquilized in order to keep them docile.
  • The trainer attempted to deceive humane officers by providing false names for horses, apparently to keep the humane officers from finding out that the horses were unfit for running the “races” required for filming.

PETA is also claiming that the American Humane Association did not do its duty with the 50 horses they were in charge of during the filming: that AHA-hired officers complained of the animals’ treatment and called for trainer Matt Chew to be fired…a fact which was allegedly ignored by the AHA. They are asking the D.A. to investigate these charges, as well as the death of a fourth horse that may have died during hiatus.

In a Washington Post item about the filing, PETA claimed it “does not have any evidence to suggest that AHA shared its concerns about any potentially illegal behavior with [the DA’s] office or other law enforcement.”