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Has television gone too far with the 'Eaten Alive' stunt?

Snakes on a plane, man in a snake - what will Hollywood do next? According to Slate, The Discovery Channel intends to air a man being eaten alive by an anaconda on Dec. 7. The television stunt has already attracted a large amount of attention, which could be good or bad for the channel, as it has come under fire by animal rights activists and the media alike.

Is The Discovery Channel in a bind?
Slate reported that a petition has already garnered upward of 20,000 signatures to stop the program. Unfortunately for PETA, that won't stop the animal from being harmed. Slate reported that the stunt has already been taped for the later date. However, the news source also noted that both the man and the anaconda are both alive and well. 

In fact, People magazine was told by Discovery officials that the stunt was approached by stuntman and naturalist Paul Rosolie - the man who was eaten - with utmost care. The group sought out the advice of three herpetologists before considering the program, and it seems as though no one was harmed. However, one can hardly argue the snake didn't undergo some discomfort while both swallowing whole a man in a hefty bodysuit and then having to regurgitate.

"Done wrong, I can easily see how the snake could be injured," Auburn University wildlife ecologist David Steen told Slate. "For example, if I were to yank something out of a snake's stomach (rather than have the snake regurgitate it on its own), I would be concerned about causing internal injuries."

Other critics may not be sold on the ethics of the stunt either. In a Mini-Poll answered by over 8,580 people so far, Opinion Outpost found that just 40 percent of individuals intended to watch the show. The poll is still active for those who would like to share their views. Moreover, it's likely that as marketing increases leading up to the Dec. 7 air date, more individuals may express interest in watching the program.

Stunt-happy reality TV
This is just one show in a long line of others airing dangerous and death-defying stunts for viewers these days. Few people forget the high-flying stuntman Felix Baumgartner's supersonic free fall from space commissioned by Red Bull. The Discovery Channel also aired another death-defying stunt just last year when daredevil Nik Wallenda completed a tightrope walk across a gorge just outside of the Grand Canyon National Park last year.

Reality TV show stunts come in all different shapes and sizes, but it's important to remember how dangerous they can be. The high risk may attract audiences, but those plans can sometimes go awry. Back in 2010, a shocking accident during a live TV show in Germany ended with daredevil Samuel Koch suffering severe injuries to his neck and spine, according to NBC News. The stuntman was attempting to jump over a series of vehicles using spring loaded stilts. After three successful attempts, Koch launched over the fourth car and landed face down on the studio floor. An audience of 10 million saw every detail, including the performer's motionless body before the show was pulled from the air.

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