Dear Animal Planet,
It has been my understanding that Animal Planet was built on the idea that animals are amazing and should be respected. Your channel has inspired millions of people to care about nature and wildlife. Animal Planet has aired television shows with famous conservation leaders, like Steve Irwin and Jeff Corwin, which directly inspired me to pursue my own career in wildlife ecology and conservation. However, there is an unfortunate slant to your current television programing. I believe the influence of reality TV and entertainment has taken Animal Planet on a path toward the exploitation of animals. For example, you promote Rattlesnake Republic, which demonizes and abuses rattlesnake species.
Rattlesnakes are truly amazing animals. They are the most evolved snakes on our planet and have incredible adaptations that have led to their success as a species. They play an integral role in the food web by controlling the population of pest species, such as rats and mice. Furthermore, rattlesnakes are social animals that experience companionship, maternal care, and prefer to left alone by humans rather than to be thrown into a pit, handled roughly with tongs and sticks, eventually brutally killed, and sometimes even skinned alive. On national television it is truly deplorable that rattlesnakes are shown being taken for their meat, for their skin, and for their right to life. At what point does Animal Planet draw the line on your programming? Animal Planet would never air a show that exhibits bull baiting or dog fighting, but you allow this cruel display of human greed on your channel? It is despicable and for these reasons I will not watch Animal Planet or promote your shows until such subject matter is removed from your channel.
Animal Planet has the power to change its reputation by showing compassion for rattlesnakes and by immediately removing Rattlesnake Republic from your programming. By airing such a show, you further harm snakes by promoting the fact that these animals should be killed. Rattlesnakes are perhaps the most vilified animal species in the United States of America and Rattlesnake Republic does nothing to change this status. Rattlesnake Republic does not foster appreciation and respect for these remarkable animals, but rather promotes that these animals are horrendous, expendable, and serve no benefit to man except that they can be sold for a profit. Remove Rattlesnake Republic from Animal Planet and do not install another show that glorifies the exploitation of any animal species. Then please continue and further promote television shows that work toward the conservation and preservation of species. Animal Planet has the potential to truly inspire so many people to care and appreciate nature and wildlife. So do it.
Thank you for offering a comment period on this matter and please do what is best for the conservation of species worldwide.
Save The Frogs is the world’s leading amphibian conservation organization. We work in California, across the USA, and around the world to prevent the extinction of amphibians, and to create a better planet for humans and wildlife.
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(Photo: Mojave Rattlesnake, Crotalus scutulatus)