One day out from The Hobbit premiere in Wellington and apparently only 18 per cent of us care about it.

If that was a survey on how many of us care about the way animals are treated on film sets, it would be a more impressive result.

In saying that, it'll be interesting to see if People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) go through with their premiere protest.

I mean really, what’s the point?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a supporter of animal welfare, a true lover of animals, a sucker for all things cute.

Which is why I’m angry at how late the accusations of animal mistreatment on The Hobbit film set were made - far too late to save any animals.

PETA, an American-based organisation, came out with claims last week that five horses, a pony, and several goats, sheep and chickens were victim to mistreatment and died during Hobbit filming.

Hobbit producers say the accusations were made by anonymous wranglers who were dismissed during production.

Apparently the deaths happened where the animals were being kept, at a Wellington farm.

If the claims are true, well I don’t even want to go there. Focusing on the task at hand, this anonymous whistleblower made the accusations too late, and right now, that’s what matters.

In the words of SPCA chief executive Robyn Kippenberger, “people who report after the fact are just as bad as those perpetrating it.”

The SPCA were made aware of the complaints last year, but it was months after the alleged mistreatment and without any specific detail.

Are the complaints a personal vendetta for getting dismissed from production? Do they hold any truth?

These are things we as the New Zealand public cannot be sure on.

But we can be sure that protesting at a world premiere – in a Grim Reaper costume – isn’t going to achieve anything and will only draw negative attention to the film and to the country, while the whole world is watching.

If the animals were mistreated, then it's disgraceful that no one stood up and said something when it was happening.

Of course, we need to continue to fight for our animals, and in the right circumstances activism can make a difference.

But looking at this situation alone, a protest is going to do nothing for the animals if they were mistreated, and it’s too late to save them. There’s better ways to go about this.

Why doesn’t the whistleblower provide more details so the claims can be investigated? Then if they need to be, people can be brought to justice.

So PETA, I support what you stand for. But tell me, what do you want to get out of this protest? Publicity? Drama? Turmoil? Because I don’t think that’s doing anything for abused animals. And in the end, it’s supposed to be about the animals, right?

By Grace Bradshaw

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