HBO announced that it canceled its high-profile horse racing show, Luck, after a third horse died during the production of the drama.
Luck was in its first season on the network and HBO has said that it will air the final two episodes of the drama, which stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte. The second season, which began production in February, will not be aired.
“While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future,” HBO said in a statement. “Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision.”
David Milch created the show and Michael Mann served as the executive producer.
Several animal-rights groups called for the network to cancel the show following the third death.
“Given the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of a horse on Monday and in light of two other fatalities in 2010 and 2011, this is arguably the best decision HBO could have made,” the American Humane Association said in a statement.
The latest death of a thoroughbred came this week when a horse was injured and then euthanized at Santa Anita racetrack, according to reports, forcing HBO to suspend production.
The Associated Press reported that the horse was being led back to a stable when the animal fell back and suffered a head injury.
A necropsy will be conducted, according to reports.
Two other horses were euthanized in 2010 and 2011, after suffering injuries during racing scenes.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a statement, saying: “Even before filming on Luck started, PETA contacted David Milch, Michael Mann, and others associated with the production to suggest ways to protect horses, including the use of stock racing footage instead of using live animals.”
-With Associated Press