I found this article claiming that Leonardo DiCaprio really ate raw bison liver and slept inside of dead animals for the filming of The Revenant (2015). Yet I never heard a single complaint, e.g. from WWF, for harming animals.

So did The Revenant movie team kill animals for the movie and have there been any complaints about the harming of animals in light of the very "authentic" scenes depicted in the film?

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    I don't know this for a fact, but just because they used real animals doesn't mean they were harmed for the movie. Bison are raised for food and leather in the US; I'm pretty sure you can buy bison liver in some grocery stores, and obtaining a bison carcass from a cattle farm would probably not be a huge problem.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 13:35
  • I just checked my copy and the film did have an Animal Wrangler and Animal Supervisor, but since it was filmed in Canada there is no ASPCA inspection. Be that as it may, your only hope is to find a canonical answer, and any filmmaker or actor who provides one would likely get plenty of backlash for participating. Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 15:44
  • Congratulations, this question is the winner of the corresponding topic challenge.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 23:22
  • @JohnnyBones - Honestly, I cannot understand how anyone could be so ignorant in this day and age to think that harming animals to add realism in a film is oh-key-doh-key so long as the set location is Canada. (Legal Stuff). I would think you'd be much more likely to get a rise out of PETA for the unethical treatment of the tauntaun on Hoth in ROTJ. Did you know we invented Greenpeace?
    – user18935
    Commented Feb 1, 2020 at 23:15
  • @Jeeped - Hold your horses (which hopefully weren't harmed in the making of this post). The ASPCA is the AMERICAN Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Canada isn't America. There are similar SPCA's in Canada, although I'm not aware of a single one that covers ALL of Canada. All I said was that I didn't see an ASPCA logo, which is usually put at the end of the credits for films made in America. Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 13:57

1 Answer 1


Yes and no. This article from the Telegraph newspaper confirms that the makers mostly used CGI, practical effects (e.g. props) and stand-ins for the animal corpses. The dead bear, bison and the horse corpses were a mixture of props and CGI and the the bear skins and bison liver were sourced ethically from Nation Park animals which presumably died of natural causes (or were at the very least culled rather than being killed specifically for the film).

That being said, the fish was a real fish.

“Standing in a freezing river and eating a fish, or climbing a mountain with a wet bear fur on my back — those were some of the most difficult sequences for me,” said Mr. DiCaprio, who is considered a strong contender for an Oscar nomination for his performance. “This entire movie was something on an entirely different level. But I don’t want this to sound like a complaint. We all knew what we were signing up for. It was going to be in the elements, and it was going to be a rough ride.”

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