Peter Jackson has defended the production team of The Hobbit who have been accused of neglect, after 27 animals used in the filming of the movie have died.

The allegations were made by “wranglers who were dismissed from the film over a year ago,” but Jackson denies that any neglect took place. In fact, he’s released a statement to say that “extraordinary measures” were actually put into place, to ensure the safety of the animals.

In his statement, Jackson wrote “The producers of The Hobbit take the welfare of all animals very seriously and have always pursued the highest standard of care for animals in their charge… Any incidents that occurred that were brought to their attention as regards to this care were immediately investigated and appropriate action taken. This includes hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent on upgrading housing and stable facilities in early 2011. The American Humane Association (AHA) was on hand to monitor all use of animals by the production. No animals died or were harmed on set during filming. We regret that some of these accusations by wranglers who were dismissed from the film over a year ago are only now being brought to our attention. We are currently investigating these new allegations and are attempting to speak with all parties involved to establish the truth."

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has stated that it may protest at the red carpet premieres of the movie in the UK, US and New Zealand, according to a report in The Guardian. The world premiere of the movie takes place in Wellington, New Zealand, on November 28, 2012.