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Sunday, 18 June, 2000, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Fury at 'tasteless' TV rat barbecue
US animal rights activists have given TV giant CBS a roasting over its hit show that involves people eating barbecued rats.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.