Adapted by peta2 from a PETA.org post

(Warning: graphic images)

I’m usually a fan of Westerns. Cowboys, the Wild West, fights in saloons—all the classic elements of the Western genre are just so entertaining. And as a fan of these types of films and shows, I’m really freaking disappointed in and downright disgusted by Hollywood right now—and you should be, too.

Dead Animals on Set

More and more people are realizing that animals are not ours to use for entertainment. So, instead of forcing unwilling animals to perform, some of the most popular filmmakers now use realistic props or computer-generated imagery (CGI) to bring essential animal characters to life.

But Kevin Costner and Taylor Sheridan are behind the times. Their big-budget Western series, Yellowstone, allegedly used real cows’ bodies in graphic scenes. This is NOT OK. A whistleblower who sent the photo below to PETA claimed that the crew was shook and the stench was so strong that people had trouble washing it off their bodies after they found dead cows mutilated on the set.

Allegedly, some of the cows’ bodies looked like they’d been hacked into at their hindquarters and necks, while others were likely left to rot in the sun or manipulated in order to make them appear bloated. What the frick.

When crew members expressed concern and asked why fake cows weren’t being used instead of real ones, their questions were essentially shrugged off. This was a horrible situation not only for the cows whose lives were cut short for a TV show but also for the people involved. Humans can get diseases from exposure to animal carcasses, and crew members were said to have no warning of animal carcasses on set.

Questions Abound

Why the heck was this nightmare allowed to happen? And where were the cows purchased? We’ve sent letters to Costner and Sheridan, but they’ve ignored them all, and Paramount is avoiding the important questions. AND if all this weren’t sketchy enough, cell phones were reportedly banned on set—in order to prevent more pictures from being taken—during the filming of a rodeo scene (which we obvs also objected to). After PETA learned of the producers’ plans to recreate a rodeo—an archaic and cruel event in which animals are taunted and manipulated into engaging in dangerous and often painful behavior—we urged the production team to use existing rodeo footage instead. However, real scenes were shot despite our objections. ?

Slaughtering animals is violent and cruel in and of itself. And the fact that a TV show is using slaughtered animals and allegedly mutilating their dead bodies is 1) disrespectful, 2) disgusting, 3) wasteful, and 4) a horrible message to send out to a world that’s already in need of some serious empathy training.

Costner and the other producers of Yellowstone need to come clean about where the animals were purchased, cut the gruesome scenes in which their bodies are used, and pledge to use only props, CGI, and other cruelty-free alternatives in the future.

Not an Isolated Incident

This isn’t the first time that on-set whistleblowers have contacted PETA to report abuse on film or TV sets. Earlier this year, a crew member shared deeply disturbing video footage from the set of Crazy Alien that appeared to show a German shepherd locked inside a cage, suspended 20 feet in the air, spun around by a crane, and then plunged into a frigid, fast-flowing river.

And last year, people were outraged when a video surfaced showing a terrified dog being forced into rushing waters on the set of the film A Dog’s Purpose.

How You Can Help

Don’t let filmmakers get away with this callousness. NEVER watch movies or TV shows that use live animals or the bodies of dead ones.

And if you see something, say something. If you ever hear about or witness anyone bullying or abusing an animal, contact police immediately.

If they’re unhelpful, contact us.