Yellowstone is a series that features a fair amount of animals, largely horses and cows. While that's to be expected of a series largely set on a cattle ranch, it has led to a situation that PETA isn't happy about. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has targeted Yellowstone due do reports of the show using mutilated cow corpses while filming. Here's what we know.
Reports come courtesy of a "whistleblower" who came forward with claims of mistreatment of animal remains on the set of the show. Scenes in Yellowstone feature the dead bodies of cows, and the show reportedly chose to use the decomposing remains of real cows rather than realistic props or fakes. According to PETA, realistic props are not hard to come by in showbiz, and such "humane alternatives" should have been used for the inclusion of dead cows in the episodes.
The whistleblower states that parts of the cows' corpses were "hacked apart," with hindquarters and necks specifically mentioned. Furthermore, Yellowstone stands accused by the whistleblower of probably leaving the bodies of cows left to rot in the sun in order to appear bloated in front of the camera, or else they were otherwise "manipulated" in order to show the bloat. Who could have guessed that PETA would appreciate The Walking Dead more than Yellowstone?
The source claims that members of the crew had their concerns about why real cows were used rather than fakes ignored by production, and they were unaware that production planned on bringing real dead animals onto set for filming. In a particularly gross twist to this tale, the source also claims that crew members had to deal with a smell so awful that it was difficult if not nearly impossible to wash off. PETA raises the point that diseases can be transmitted to humans via rotting animal carcasses.
After a photo leaked of a dead cow with a significant portion of its hindquarters absent, it's no wonder that PETA got involved. After all, PETA has released statements about how it would handle the dinosaurs of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and a vomiting monkey from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Reports of mutilated cows with a picture of a dead animal naturally attracted the organization's attention.
The alleged mistreatment of the dead cows isn't the only bone PETA has to pick with Yellowstone, so to speak. The show reportedly planned to shoot a rodeo, which PETA describes as "an archaic and cruel event in which animals are abused, taunted, and manipulated into performing dangerous and often painful" behaviors. No footage of such a scene leaked, but production reportedly banned cell phones on set and refused to use existing stock footage for the scenes.
PETA is callng for producers to cut any and all scenes featuring mistreated animals and commit to using props and special effects for any future dead and/or suffering animals. The organization states that its letters to star Kevin Costner, creator Taylor Sheridan, and Paramount executives have gone unanswered.
Given that Yellowstone has been renewed for a second season, delivered in the ratings, and cast an Arrow-verse villain for the next batch of episodes, it's possible that the show could enjoy a long future on the air. Only time will tell if PETA will be happier with the show in the future.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).