Is the Discovery Channel’s Anaconda Stunt Actually Animal Cruelty?

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Have you ever wondered what it might be like to get eaten by a snake?

No? Me neither.

However, one man did: Naturalist and filmmaker Paul Rosolie.

For a Discovery Channel Special, Rosolie and a Discovery Channel team venture into the Amazon rainforest to search for an anaconda. They then prepare for Rosolie to be eaten alive by an anaconda (which can measure anywhere up to 30 feet long) by putting him in “snake proof” suit before slathering himself in pigs’ blood to make himself more palatable.

“We’re going to make me as appealing as possible, so the snake just says, ‘Well, I got this big thing here, I might as well get a free meal.’”

According to reports, after having been swallowed whole, Rosolie is then removed from the snake by a cord that had been attached to his “snake proof” suit.

The special, appropriately dubbed “Eaten Alive” is due to hit our screens on December 7th on the Discovery Channel. You can watch the trailer here:

While the special hasn’t yet aired, it’s already caused much controversy in animal rights activists group who call the stunt “animal abuse to the highest degree,” and have pressured Discovery Channel to pull the special.

While we’re sure that Rosolie’s safe and sound, considering he’s been tweeting actively since the special was taped, it’s not clear how the anaconda fared.

Protestors have created a petition at Change.org asking the channel to pull the special, and for people to boycott the Discovery Channel if action isn’t taken. They have already collected more than 3,000 signatures.

“This is animal abuse to the highest degree and absolutely disgusting, and could kill the snake – an adult green anaconda cannot fit the width of an adult man’s shoulders into its body”

However, it’s not only the inappropriate size of Rosolie that’s coming under fire, but the forced regurgitation that the animal had to undergo. According to sources, regurgitation in snakes is quite harmful to the snakes physically and emotionally.

Peta has made a statement about the issue of forced regurgitation:

“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,” PETA, which has yet to see the special, said in a statement. “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.”

The Discovery Channel has yet to respond to the criticism.

Rosolie has opted in with the following statement from his website:

In the days leading up to Eaten Alive on Discovery Channel, I understand that many people have questions. All I can tell you now is that all my work is based around the fact that wildlife and ecosystems today, across the globe, are at a critical moment. No group of animals so much so as apex predators. From sharks, to tigers, to anacondas – across the globe the biggest and baddest, some of the most iconic creatures on our planet are vanishing because of us. The snakes that I work with are under threat from hunting and habitat destruction, and need help. Anacondas are a major player in the Amazon ecosystem that provides 1/5 of our planet’s oxygen and contains 1/5 of the planets fresh water. For those worried about animal cruelty, I invite you to research my work – read my book. Then ask yourself: would this person ever hurt an animal?

We’d love to find out what your opinions are on the matter? Is “Eaten Alive” true scientific exploration or blatant animal abuse?

  • Sarah Burke

    Sarah is a graduate of the University of College Dublin. After receiving her MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture, she taught High-school English and History for three years before moving to Vancouver to pursue a career in writing. In her spare time, Sarah likes to write poetry, go to music festivals and drink wine. Her favorite food is the burrito. She is an avid reader of fantasy novels, an active participant in feminist circles, and will always have an adventure planned in the foreseeable future. Interesting fact: Sarah is fluent in Irish (Gaeilge).

1 thought on “Is the Discovery Channel’s Anaconda Stunt Actually Animal Cruelty?”

  1. Even if this turns out to be a hoax (he never goes inside a real snake), or it does happen and the snake is not harmed, I still do not appreciate the advertising of this stunt. Snakes have a bad rep and the trailer for the show perpetuates the notion that snakes are “dangerous beasts.” And yet in the clip I saw, he jumps at the snake while wearing the suit and the snake is clearly trying to move away from him. I say we leave animals, for the most part, alone. I understand that we may need to interact with them and go into ecosystems to study and learn about them, but I fail to see the educational aspect of this stunt.

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