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Discovery Channel's Venom Hunters receives venomous backlash

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posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 06:59 PM
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Not very long ago in this galaxy far away from every other galaxy, the new "boss" of the Discovery Channel pledged to stop doing things like "MEGALODON!!" and get back to doing real science. One of those "real science" shows (apparently) was "Venom Hunters" and the backlash among snake handlers and venom suppliers has been huge.

Discover Magazine's done a very good four-parter article on this that focuses on the Venom Hunters series but could be applied to any of their recent offerings.


According to Discovery, Venom Hunters follows four brave teams of expert snake catchers on a mission to save lives. “Every year, venomous snakes kill over 100,000 people and hospitalize thousands more. Despite this staggering number, the deadly venom is also used to save lives in the production of anti-venom. There’s a problem though: anti-venom supplies are dwindling every year, making the stakes even higher for brave professionals who harvest this equally deadly and precious substance.


What Discovery doesn't reveal is that these folks are NOT suppliers for the researchers who use anti-venom. There are legit suppliers (we met one in my Master Naturalist class and he brought a bunch of snakes including the world's most hyper-reactive rattlesnake) but they don't run around in the bush, scaring snakes and lizards. They are licensed owners of captive reptiles and the snakes are milked on a schedule in ways that don't harm or stress them... unlike the techniques shown on the "Venom Hunters" show.

The professionals who actually sell the venom to companies tried to tell Discovery about their field... but it wasn't "exciting enough" for the show producers. The show ran for six episodes and did not get renewed, thankfully.

The four-article series (an excellent one, and well written) concludes with the question "How Committed is the Discovery Channel to No Fakes?" and the conclusion is pretty sad and pretty obvious. Those who saw the Big Money Opportunity were on the Internet, announcing that they were starting Venom Hunting businesses. The real venom suppliers were angry and disheartened.


“There’s people now that think they can grab a dirty wine glass with a ziploc bag tied over the top of it and go out on their property and extract from a bunch of copperheads and make a hundred grand, and that’s just not how it works.


The final paragraphs of the fourth article echo the frustration that anyone involved with the sciences feels when encountering these shows:


I think arguing whether the show has done more harm than good misses the bigger point. What concerns me is that Discovery is still up to their old tricks, and they’re undermining everything they’ve done in the past year to clean up their image.

I’m pissed that Authentic Entertainment and Discovery pursued a show that they were told was flawed from the get-go, and I’m disturbed that they fabricated “facts” and storylines and may have even broken laws while putting the lives and reputations of their cast and crew at risk to make such a program.


Part two
Part 3 points out that they're breaking some laws

The fourth in the series




posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 07:21 PM
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a reply to: Byrd

That was all very interesting to read. Great post



posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 07:23 PM
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a reply to: Byrd
Unfortunately, real science isn't as exciting and entertaining as the chills and thrills of spicing it up, and making it sexy. It's boring to see some guy taking all the proper precautions, treating the snake with a little respect, and making sure the venom container is sterile. If someone gets bit, or they have to kill the snake, that's exciting.

Discovery is all about the entertainment value, and it's easy to understand why. If they aren't entertaining their audience by giving them what they want, they don't make any money to keep the lights on. Only scientists, and those with a genuine interest in science, enjoy the excitement that real discoveries, and real science brings.

I'm still in awe that we have equipment on Mars. How freaking cool is that? Others I know are bored to tears with it.



posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 08:10 PM
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originally posted by: Klassified
a reply to: Byrd
Discovery is all about the entertainment value, and it's easy to understand why. If they aren't entertaining their audience by giving them what they want, they don't make any money to keep the lights on. Only scientists, and those with a genuine interest in science, enjoy the excitement that real discoveries, and real science brings.


The real problem with shows like this and "Three Scientists Walk Into A Bar" (they're engineers, not scientists) is that they often encourage risky and extreme behavior in the name of "science." We're being led to believe that science is all "here! Hold my beer and watch this and I'll explain the physics later!" stuff. This means that the people (kids) who really want to become scientists are being given stupid expectations about what science REALLY is (blow stuff up) that ignores the neat and awesome adventures and challenges of real science.

Okay... watching number crunching can be boring for anyone, including scientists. But this stuff is just promoting unfortunate concepts and dangerous stunts.



posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 08:18 PM
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I always thought that the authentic venom milking was exciting enough. Who doesn't get a bit of a chill watching them bring some of the world's deadliest snakes out of their plastic bins to be milked? Even the ones who are used to such handling can still kill the handlers if the procedure goes wrong.




posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 08:23 PM
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Seems they completely missed the real reason "Mythbusters" was such a hit. They had a perfect blend of real science, even showing the math, and applying that science to an exciting outcome. Add in a great ensemble cast, and BAM! Hit. And for them hit = $$$. Unfortunately, they used it as a cash cow for too long....and decided to strip it to the bone in the name of saving money. Now, they are screwed as the entire Mythbusters team is now gone. In essence they killed their cash cow for a quick meal.

They need to realize that their core audience hates that entertainment-over-reality formula. I blame the new heads of the network for their short-sightedness. They need to decide who their audience is, and if it is the mouth breathers they better be ready to pull a "Syfy" and rename the network because it will be far from any "Discovery" channel anymore.



posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 08:32 PM
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a reply to: Krakatoa

I kind of thought they had that best of both worlds thing when they had The Learning Channel which devolved into TLC and Discover, but now they're letting Discover disintegrate into TLC. At least there is still Science which is sort of what Discover used to be.



posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 08:54 PM
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a reply to: Byrd



The real problem with shows like this and "Three Scientists Walk Into A Bar" (they're engineers, not scientists) is that they often encourage risky and extreme behavior in the name of "science."
An engineer can't be a scientist?
Travis Taylor:


B.E.E. Electrical Engineering, Auburn University (1991)[4]

M.S. Physics, University of Alabama, Huntsville (1994)
Thesis: Rewriteable magneto-optic compact disk based optical processor[13]

Ph.D. Optical Science and Engineering, University of Alabama, Huntsville (1999)
Dissertation: Laboratory simulation of atmospheric turbulence induced optical wavefront distortion[13]

M.S.E. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Alabama, Huntsville (2001)
Thesis: Advanced solar and laser sail propulsion concepts for interstellar space travel[13]

Master of Astronomy, University of Western Sydney, Nepean (ca. 2004)[14]

Ph.D. Aerospace Systems Engineering, University of Alabama, Huntsville (2012)
Dissertation: Implementing planetary meteor impact craters as high gain radio frequency dish reflector antennas[13]

To obtain his accredited online master's degree in astronomy from the University of Western Sydney in Australia, he built an extrasolar planet imaging instrument in his backyard using a plastic pipe, telescopic camera, and $200 computer.[2]


en.wikipedia.org...

edit on 6/27/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 09:20 PM
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“There’s people now that think they can grab a dirty wine glass with a ziploc bag tied over the top of it and go out on their property and extract from a bunch of copperheads and make a hundred grand, and that’s just not how it works


...pretty much exactly how its done, minus the continuous snake milking jail part.

Yep, sounds like jealous profit protection pouting.

I feel the same way about real estate investment shows, but then I realize they are running a Hollywood budget.
Reality is a little more intense.

Cool op, none the less. GRACIAS

edit on 6 by Mandroid7 because: added 2

edit on 6 by Mandroid7 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 02:59 AM
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a reply to: Byrd

Shame they'd do that, but no surprise! Some of these stations have no integrity at all.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 05:50 AM
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Neat. Normally called 'antivenin' not 'anti venom', though both are used.

Being bitten by a venomous snake is called envenomation.

Count on Discovery Channel for the lurid over the scientific.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 06:36 AM
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a reply to: Byrd

Trust "science" media to do everything wrong scientifically and to seek sensationalist ratings instead.

S+F for the info.




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