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Bison killed for movie?

Investigation into bison killed for film

The American Humane Association is investigating whether five bison were killed for new film The Solutrean.


A Hollywood movie starring Australian Kodi Smit-McPhee has been caught up in an animal rights drama over the slaughtering of bison.

Production of The Solutrean​ is being investigated over allegations that five bison were killed for scene that takes place after a hunt in contravention of American Humane Association regulations.

Kodi Smit-McPhee in Channel Nine's <i>Gallipoli</i>.

Kodi Smit-McPhee in Channel Nine’s Gallipoli.

Smit-McPhee, most recently seen in Gallipoli and X-Men: Apocalypse, stars in what is described, in echoes of The Revenant, as an Ice Age epic set 20,000 years ago about surviving dangerous conditions to get home after a hunting expedition goes bad.


According to The Hollywood Reporter, five bison carcasses were used on the set in Alberta, Canada, for a scene. They had been slaughtered and partially skinned the previous day by a butcher at the direction of the movie’s animal wrangler, John Scott, on his ranch.

The American Humane Association, which prohibits the use of animals killed for the purpose of film production, is investigating the incident.

Kodi Smit-McPhee (left) with Michael Fassbender in the 2015 western <i>Slow West</i>.

Kodi Smit-McPhee (left) with Michael Fassbender in the 2015 western Slow West.

“We were alerted to allegations that, if true, are a clear violation of our standards,” association representative Mark Stubis​ said.

Directed by Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli), The Solutrean is being made by former Warner Bros boss Jeff Robinov’s production company Studio 8.

The company responded by saying it acted in good faith by inviting the association on set and “proactively contracted with a reputable meat-processing company to purchase bison carcasses that had previously been harvested.”

It added that an internal review was underway, promising that “if we find that any deviation did indeed occur, we will consider all potential remedies, including 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.”

The association, which supervises film, television and commercials production, is behind the “no animals were harmed” disclaimer in the end credits.

It has been monitoring the treatment of animals in Hollywood for more than 70 years, ensuring standards have been lifted from the time 25 horses were killed during filming of the 1936 movie The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Star Errol Flynn was reputedly so outraged by the trip-wiring of 125 horses for the climactic charge scene that he attacked director Michael Curtiz, with the deaths prompting the US Congress to ensure the safety of animals in movies.

While such incidents occur only rarely on film and television sets now, two horses died during production of the 2006 movie Flicka.

The Solutrean, which is being filmed in Canada and Iceland, also stars Jóhannes Haukur Johannesson (Game of Thrones), Jens Hulten (Skyfall), Natasha Wilson (Unreal), Marcin Kowalczyk (The Lure), Spencer Bogaert (Vincent) and Leonor Varela (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D). 

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