"Survivor" seemed to set the stage, when participants were handed chickens to slaughter and were shown stabbing and killing a wild pig and fish.
Then of course there is "Fear Factor", where contestants eat every imaginable animal part--including insects, which are not even killed before being shoved in someone's mouth.
"The Simple Life" had Paris and Nicole sticking an arm in a cow's behind and, according to a post on VB
, apparently skinning a poached deer.
The animal abuse only seems to multiply on cable. I read that contestants on various MTV shows cruelly killed a chicken, attended a bullfighting school and participated in a greased pig contest.
VH1 sent participants to engage in carcass-related stunts on a reality show headed by Ted Nugent. I just saw an ad on VH1 for its reality show, the Surreal Life, in which the crew visits a ranch. A poor baby calf is shown running and being lassoed while a woman says, "I've heard that cows are really dumb. You know, like fish." Or reality show contestants.
So, what I'd like know is, who made the rule that hurting animals has to be a component of so many types of reality show, from game shows to put-random-people-together-in-a-house shows to trading-places shows.
Is it because hurting animals is so ingrained in mainstream life that producers see nothing wrong with it? Do they hope to stir some controversy, and by default, ratings? Is harming animals "edgy" enough to depict an in-your-face image, but still legal and acceptable enough that producers don't have to worry about trouble with the law or the FCC?
Note: I do not watch any reality shows. I got this information from the unescapable promos--which, if there's one thing apparently more popular than showing animal abuse on reality shows, it's showing clips of it on commercials for reality shows.