According to The Hollywood Reporter, on April 27, five bison carcasses were arranged on set in Alberta, Canada. The animals had been slaughtered and partially skinned the previous day to be used in a specific scene. The American Humane Association prohibits the use of animals killed for the purpose of film production, and are now looking into the project to see if there was any foul play.
“We were alerted to allegations that, if true, are a clear violation of our standards,” said AHA rep Mark Stubis in a statement. “If, in the course of the ongoing investigation, the American Humane Association discovers that any laws were broken or violated, we will submit the evidence to the proper channels immediately,” added another rep for the AHA.
The film is the first from Studio 8, headed by Jeff Robinov. The studio says it “acted in good faith by inviting the AHA on set,” and “proactively contracted with a reputable meat-processing company to purchase bison carcasses that had previously been harvested.” They added that if they found that any deviation occurred, then they would consider making things right by “rescuing five other bison who would have otherwise been slaughtered, by purchasing them for adoption by an animal sanctuary, along with any other actions involving other responsible parties that we feel are appropriate.”
Though, after looking at more invoices and emails, the documents showed the butcher Longview Beef Jerky sold the bison to the production as dead carcasses but it didn’t indicate where the animals came from beforehand. John Scott, the film’s animal wrangler, has a history of trouble involving the use of animals in films. He was previously accused of selling horses he used on the series “Heartland” at an auction attended by buyers of a horse slaughterhouse.
He declined to comment on “The Solutrean” bison, but Dwight Beard, a veteran entertainment-industry trucker, commented to THR that Scott told the butcher not to put his name in the paperwork and only have the butcher sign for it. “This was the answer I got when I asked why the butcher put his own name down for the buffalo even though John owned them. These guys all know it’s wrong so they are trying to be arm’s length away.”
If the AHA discovers that any laws were violated or broken, they will hold the person in charge of the animals accountable.