Op-Ed: Discovery Channel's 'Eaten Alive' more than distasteful

Posted Nov 10, 2014 by Karen Graham
Controversy is nothing new to the Discovery Channel. The basic cable and satellite channel is now taking hits from PETA and other animal-rights groups over its plans to air "Eaten Alive," showing a man being swallowed by a snake on Dec. 7.
Screen grab from video of Paul Rosolie preparing to meet the green anaconda.
Screen grab from video of Paul Rosolie preparing to meet the green anaconda.
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Paul Rosolie is an award-winning filmmaker, specializing in wildlife and in particular the Amazon rainforest. He is also a naturalist and an author who has dedicated his life to the conservation and sustainability of the world's ecosystems. According to Paul, “telling the story of places like the Amazon and other threatened biomes and the species within them is a crucial link in the process of protecting them."
The New Jersey native professes to the world that he would never harm any wildlife. But he isn't averse to a little publicity or the monetary awards that go along with the upcoming airing of his stunt on December 7. The "pseudo-documentary" is being touted as an experiment to find out what it's like to enter the belly of a snake.
The anaconda apparently doesn t get equal billing in the upcoming  pseudo-documentary    but it is a...
The anaconda apparently doesn't get equal billing in the upcoming "pseudo-documentary,", but it is a beautiful creature.
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Discovery Channel is already licking its wounds from accusations their 2013 factual documentary, "Megalodon: The monster shark lives" was faked. Now the reality-TV channel, and that's what it is now, appears to be immune to accusations of animal cruelty and exploitation of animals for profit. After all, all they want to do is bring up their sagging ratings with this current show.
To say the thought of showing someone being purposely swallowed by a green anaconda is very distasteful is putting it mildly. Animal rights activists and PETA (“People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals”) think it's distasteful too. They have released a statement condemning the stunt and demanding that Discovery Channel drop the special.
The Nov. 6 issue of People Magazine ran an article on PETA's objections to the Discovery program, including the statement PETA issued against Discovery Channel airing the "Eaten Alive" show on Dec. 7. In the statement, PETA said:
"This blatant publicity stunt sounds far-fetched, but if the description is accurate, the snake was tormented and suffered for the sake of ratings, as animals usually do when they're used for entertainment. Anacondas go days without eating and expend the energy needed to do so selectively. Making this snake use up energy by swallowing this fool and then possibly regurgitating him would have left the poor animal exhausted and deprived of the energy that he or she needs. Shame on this pseudo 'wildlife expert' for tormenting this animal, and shame on the Discovery Channel for giving him the incentive to do so."