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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 October, 2003, 11:24 GMT
ITV drops dwarves' tug-of-war show
John Fashanu
Former footballer John Fashanu hosts the programme
A British version of a US show which featured a team of 44 dwarves competing in a tug-of-war against an elephant has been dropped by ITV.

The network had planned to air the John Fashanu-hosted show, Man Versus Beast, in a teatime slot on Saturday.

But the show has been taken out of the schedule, after criticism from animal rights supporters.

An ITV spokeswoman said it would still be aired at a later date, and the move was taken for "scheduling reasons".

She told BBC News Online the network acknowledged there had been criticism of the programme.

But the spokeswoman denied there had been any ill-treatment of animals in the Granada-made programme.

"We've not taken this decision because of any political pressure at all," she said.

"It is purely down to the needs of the schedule."

No new transmission date has been fixed for the programme.

Giraffe race

Man Versus Beast has already aired on the Fox network in the US, where a team of dwarves competed against an elephant in trying to pull a DC-10 airliner.

Another contest saw sprinter Shawn Crawford race against a giraffe and a zebra in separate 100-metre sprints.

The Born Free Foundation animal welfare charity, which had been campaigning against the programme, demanded ITV drop the programme altogether.

Founder Virginia McKenna said: "Animals should not be exploited for human 'entertainment'.

"It is so important that this programme and others of its kind are not made in the future and that Man Vs Beast is not reinserted into the schedule when public attention is elsewhere."

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