A former senior employee of the American Humane Assn., the group responsible for the "No Animals Were Harmed" certification on film credits, is suing her former employer, saying she was wrongfully terminated for complaining about the alleged abuse and mistreatment of horses on the set of HBO's ill-fated series "Luck."
In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court this week, Barbara Casey, the former director of production for the AHA's film and television unit, alleged that AHA thwarted her efforts to enforce AHA's animal safety standards and prevent "animal abuse and cruelty" during the filming of "Luck," which shut down in March after three horses were killed.
The horse deaths sparked renewed debate in the industry about the use of animals on film sets and a renewed spotlight on the AHA and its role in safeguarding the welfare of animals.
"American Humane Assn. is unable to comment on pending legal matters,'' a spokeswoman for the charity said on Wednesday.
HBO, also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, said: "We took every precaution to ensure that our horses were treated humanely and with the utmost care, exceeding every safeguard of all protocols and guidelines required of the production. Barbara Casey was not an employee of HBO, and any questions regarding her employment should be directed to the AHA."