The Albert Hughes–directed film Alpha has come under fire from PETA for suspicion of cold-blooded bison murder, but an investigation by The Hollywood Reporter found things might not be so clear cut. The Ice Age adventure story stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as a young man left for dead by his tribe on a hunt, who then befriends a lone wolf, and together they become a supersweet man-wolf survival team. It’s a nice story, but what’s not so nice is the question of where all these dead bison came from.
“Five sensitive bison lost their lives, all so that their bodies could be used as props in this wholly forgettable flick,” PETA senior vice-president Lisa Lange told THR. However, a source close to the film insists the bison were procured for a hunting scene from a meat-processing facility and had already been slaughtered. Still, AHA rules prohibit the slaughter of animals for the purpose of movies, and since the bison apparently didn’t become burgers, therein lies the rub. The film was apparently cleared after an investigation attributed the deaths to a miscommunication between the production and wrangler John Scott. “This unfortunate situation was the cause of a wrangler who went rogue,” a source told THR, who had previously investigated Scott, a working rancher who owned the bison. His only comment on the situation was, “I have the right to do with my bison whatever I want to do.” Gulp.