Animal rights group PETA is calling for a boycott of the Sony Pictures movie Alpha after reports that five bison were killed and partially skinned for filming of a hunting scene. In addition, PETA alleges that Alpha used animals procured from Birds & Animals Unlimited, a company that has previously come under fire for animal neglect.
Directed by Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli), Alpha is a historical drama about an Ice Age hunter (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who befriends an injured wolf. This first connection between man and wolf marks the beginning of the long relationship between humans and canines. The movie co-stars Leonor Varela, Jens Hultén, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson and Chuck the wolf-dog as Alpha.
In a statement released by PETA, the group known for taking on Hollywood over its practices regarding animals is calling for a boycott of Alpha amid reports that real bison were killed and mutilated for the sake of the production. PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange said as part of the statement:
"Five sensitive bison lost their lives, all so that their bodies could be used as props in this wholly forgettable flick. PETA is calling on the public to show Hollywood that cruelty to animals will not be tolerated by refusing to buy a ticket to Alpha."
Though PETA accuses the Alpha production of killing the bison, THR says that according to sources they spoke to in 2016 when they first investigated the matter, the bison in question were procured from a meat-processing company and had already been slaughtered. However, American Humane Association rules do prohibit the use of animals killed for the sole purpose of film production. Sources told THR that the breach of AHA rules was the result of a "wrangler who went rogue."
PETA of course has a long record of acting as a watchdog over the entertainment industry as regards its treatment of animals. Earlier this year, PETA urged a boycott of the film Crazy Aliens after it received a disturbing video from the set showing a German Shepherd being abused. In 2017, PETA denounced producers of the film A Dog’s Purpose after video surfaced of a dog nearly being drowned during the filming of a scene. PETA also took on the Discovery reality show Alaska: The Last Frontier after the series featured a scene of a bear being killed. Many big Hollywood stars count themselves as supporters of PETA, including Lea Michele, Eva Mendes, Pamela Anderson, Alyssa Milano, Charlize Theron, Ellen Degeneres and Steve-O.
Alpha currently holds a 75 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is projected to gross between $6-8 million when it opens in theaters this weekend.
Source: PETA, THR