Elijah Wood on ‘The Hobbit’ animal cruelty claims: ‘It’s heartbreaking’

Actor insists that 'everyone who worked on the films takes the utmost care of the animals'

Elijah Wood has responded to reports of animal cruelty during the making of The Hobbit, calling the claims “heartbreaking”.

Earlier this week (November 22 2012), the Associated Press reported that up to 27 animals used in the movies had died after being kept in poor conditions on a farm in Wellington, New Zealand. The claims were made by animal wranglers that worked on the movies.

Director Peter Jackson has since released a statement refuting the allegations, but animal rights group PETA has called on him to make all animals in his future movies computer-generated.

Now Wood, who plays Frodo Baggins in the film trilogy, has shared his opinions on the reports. He told TMZ: “That was the most ridiculous thing ever. It was really heartbreaking actually,” before adding: “I never saw any of those conditions when I was down there. All of the technicians and everyone who worked on the films takes the utmost care of the animals.”

Wood also insinuated that the story has broken suspiciously close to the first film’s release, saying: “The timing is so obvious as well. We’re premiering the movie in less than a week.” The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gets its worldwide premiere in New Zealand on November 28 before opening in UK cinemas on December 14. You can watch the trailer at the bottom of this article.

Jackson’s second The Hobbit film, The Desolation Of Smaug, will follow in December 2013, before the trilogy concludes with There And Back Again in July 2014. Alongside Wood as Frodo Baggins, the films star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and boast an ensemble cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom.