I was recently contacted by a Mr. Stitchman from Icon Films regarding my photography on Flickr. He said that he was working on Animal Planet's series "River Monsters 2" and was interested in using some of my Sturgeon photos. At first I was really excited that my photos might be used on a huge TV network.
I'm a really positive person by nature, and I don't like to talk badly about anyone. But I can't stand Animal Planet anymore. I remember when I was a kid watching the hard-to-find nature shows on PBS, and when I heard about a new station called Animal Planet, I thought it would be more like that. Instead they have shows about how dangerous and deadly animals are to humans. Every time I turn on Animal Planet, a man with an action-movie-announcer voice is warning us about some deadliest animal in the world (whatever). With these shows, Animal Planet is not educating people as much as they are creating unjustified fear of animals and vilifying animals. It's no longer just "Animal Planet," it's become "the Deadliest Animal" Planet.
I had hoped that "River Monsters" would be different, as Mr. Stitchman said it was about "some of the biggest and most interesting freshwater fish." I Googled it and found some clips on YouTube and was instantly annoyed. Some of the titles include "KILLER CATFISH," "EUROPEAN MANEATER," and "AMAZON FLESHEATERS." I didn't contact them again about those photos. I just couldn't sell myself out. I don't want to be associated with a show like that.
Since when did Animal Planet become a network for horror films about animals? I am not interested in shows that bombard us with rare, freak animal attacks; negatively highlight the contention between humans and animals; and invoke fear of animals in children and other impressionable viewers. If I'm watching a show and hear the words "deadly," "dangerous," and "attack" within the first two minutes, I know to change the channel. Why doesn't Animal Planet show more educational shows, or shows about conservation? Some of my favorite Animal Planet shows are Buggin' with Ruud, Corwin's Quest, Growing Up..., and Orangutan Island. Animal Planet needs more shows like these that advocate conservation, learning, and treating animals with a healthy respect. Sure, those sensational shows about man-eating animals have some merits. At least now I know never to harass a Polar bear, king cobra, or great white shark, should I ever encounter one here in Wisconsin.
Do you agree, or disagree? Feel free to leave a comment and tell us how you feel about Animal Planet.