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The US TV network HBO is being sued by an animal rights worker after four horses died during the filming of a drama series.

“Luck” was based in the world of American horse racing and starred Dustin Hoffman. It was axed last March following the deaths of the horses, which occurred at different times during filming.

But now animal rights worker Barbara Casey is suing the producers and the American Humane Association (AHA) claiming horses were “mistreated” during the show.

She was director of production in the AHA’s film and television unit and it was her job to oversee the conditions of the animals being used in the series.

In court papers filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, she claims she was fired after complaining the horses were severely mistreated, underweight and drugged for the series.

“We took every precaution to ensure that our horses were treated humanely and with the utmost care, exceeding every safeguard of all protocols and guidelines required of the production,” said HBO in a statement.