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"Brokeback Mountain," the controversial film about gay cowboys, allegedly had a lack of concern for the well-being of the animals featured in the film. The American Humane Association sent a letter to the movie's director, Ang Lee, expressing dismay over reports of animal care and protection guidelines violations.
"The excessively rough handling of the sheep and horses leaves viewers questioning whether anyone was looking out for the safety of those animals," the letter states. "And many also wonder how the filmmakers got the elk to lose its footing and crumple to the ground 'on cue' after being shot."
Marie Belew Wheatley, president of the AHA's film and television unit, said she has learned that anesthesia was reportedly used on an elk to portray a hunting scene. Using anesthesia to facilitate filming has been prohibited since 1997, after causing several animal deaths during a production. Regardless of how it is administered, anesthesia endangers an animal's life and health.
Apparently, while there was great concern over the sensitivities of the gay cowboys in the movie, there was little concern for the welfare of the animals used in the production.