Crew Blows Whistle After Cows’ Bodies Reportedly Mutilated for ‘Yellowstone’ Series

PETA Calls for Producers to Cut Scenes and Pledge to Use CGI and Props in All Future Productions After Disturbing Photo Leaks From Set

For Immediate Release:
October 10, 2018

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Kamas, Utah

PETA contacted the production team of Kevin Costner and Taylor Sheridan’s TV series Yellowstone after a whistleblower emerged claiming that real decomposing cows’ bodies were used on set and appeared to have been mutilated for the big-budget Western. PETA is calling on viewers to demand that the scenes in which they appear be cut from the show’s upcoming second season and is asking for an assurance that only humane alternatives—such as realistic props, of which there are plenty in Hollywood—be used in the future.

According to the whistleblower, some of the dead cows’ hindquarters and necks had been hacked apart and the bodies of others were likely left to rot in the sun or manipulated in order to appear bloated for a scene. The source said that concerns from crew members who questioned why fake cows weren’t being used instead were essentially shrugged off. Additionally, PETA was told that the crew wasn’t notified of plans to bring animal corpses onto the set and that they complained that the gore and stench was so bad that it was almost impossible to wash it off their bodies. Exposure to animal carcasses can cause disease transmission to humans and lead to contamination of the environment.

“The slaughterhouse industry is a violent and cruel one, and to use the bodies of animals who were subjected to that cruelty for a TV stunt is not only disrespectful but also extremely wasteful,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA is calling on Kevin Costner and the producers of Yellowstone to come clean about how and from where the animals were purchased, cut the gruesome scenes, and pledge to use only props and other cruelty-free alternatives in the future.”

In its letter, PETA also raised concerns about the production team’s plans to shoot scenes involving a rodeo, an archaic and cruel event in which animals are abused, taunted, and manipulated into performing dangerous and often painful types of behavior. Instead of using existing stock footage as PETA suggested, the production reportedly banned cell phones on set to prevent the crew from documenting and leaking more photos.

Letters to Costner and Sheridan have gone unanswered, and executives at Paramount have refused to answer repeated requests for detailed information about the events that transpired on set. PETA’s letters and correspondence are available upon request.

PETA urges anyone who witnesses cruelty to animals in the entertainment industry to report it at or contact PETA’s whistleblower hotline at 323-210-2233. Statements are kept confidential.  

For more information, please visit

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.