Peter Jackson has hit back at accusations claiming that 27 animals died of mistreatment on the sets of his latest venture The Hobbit.
Claims surfaced on Monday that horses, goats, chickens and a sheep used in The Hobbit had died after being housed in a farm, described by wranglers who worked on the film as full of "death traps."
One wrangler said that he buried three horses, as well as about six goats, six sheep and a dozen chickens.
He also said that two other horses were also injured but they survived.
A spokesman for Jackson admitted that there had been "avoidable" deaths, including one horse that had died after "falling over a bluff," but said that hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent to upgrade housing and stable facilities in early 2011.
The American Humane Society, which was called in after the deaths, inspected the property, made recommendations (that were acted upon) and later passed the film, declaring that no animals had died "during filming."
However, PETA has started calling for animal lovers to boycott the film when it opens in New Zealand on November 28.
Jackson hit back with a statement "completely rejecting" the accusations that the animals died due to mistreatment, and pointed the finger at "wranglers who were dismissed from the film over a year ago."
"We are currently investigating these new allegations and are attempting to speak with all parties involved to establish the truth," a spokesman for Jackson said.