BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Sunday, 18 June, 2000, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Fury at 'tasteless' TV rat barbecue
issland
Island paradise Pulau Tiga. But not if you're a rat
US animal rights activists have given TV giant CBS a roasting over its hit show that involves people eating barbecued rats.



There's nothing funny about it. It's disgusting

Peta
Contestants on Survivor trap the rats on the beach of the remote Pacific island of Pulau Tiga, and then skin and eat them.

A small group from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) protested outside CBS's New York offices, attacking the show's "archaic and barbaric promotions of animal cruelty".


"You have people who think it's fun to trap rats, cut off their legs, skin them and eat them," said RaeLeann Smith of Peta.

In each episode of Survivor, two opposing teams known as "tribes" compete to survive the hardships of life on the desert island, about 50 km (31 miles) off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

The tribe judged to have lost must vote out one of its members and the last "survivor" gets to pocket $1m.

Rat 'invaders'

richard
Richard: Killed rat for bait
However, it appears that one competitor, Richard, got a bit carried away in his quest for the cash.

In the first episode of the show, the 39-year-old business consultant was seen grandly pulling an island rat out of a trap and killing it for fish bait.



We truly believe our viewers recognise that hunting and fishing as a means of sustenance has been acceptable since the dawn of time

CBS
By the third episode, the hungry castaways had apparently decided the rats were too good for the fish and were filmed trapping, chopping and skinning them, before grilling them over a fire.

A CBS spokesman said Survivor participants were instructed not to harm creatures indigenous to the island, such as monkeys and lizards.

But the rats were invaders that came to Pulau Tiga from passing ships, spokesman Chris Ender said.

survival
Surviving: The castaways arrive
Whatever the rights and wrongs of roasting rats for food, the programme has taken on a life of its own in the US.

The expression, "I vote you off the island" has passed into everyday use, and t-shirts are on sale with the slogan "Don't vote me off."

CBS executives will also draw comfort from Survivor's record ratings.

The third episode, including the rat-grilling, attracted 23 million viewers, 5 million more than the previous week, setting a new record for CBS audience figures.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories