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Pressure mounts on ITV to end “cruel” I’m A Celebrity bushtucker trials

This news post is about 8 years old

Scots charity backs Chris Packham's call to end needless animal suffering on the hit ITV show I'm a Celebrity

A Scots animal rights charity has backed wildlife broadcaster Chris Packham’s call to end “needless animal suffering” on the hit ITV show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

Springwatch regular Packham called on presenters Ant and Dec to “end animal abuse” in the show’s bushtucker trials - which often involve the eating of live insects.

Edinburgh-based OneKind - formerly Advocates for Animals - has been opposed to the trials since the show’s outset and in 2003 wrote to the Independent Television Commission, Ofcom and Granada TV, complaining about the use and abuse of animal on the programme.

Spokesperson Louise Robertson said: “The treatment of animals in I’m a Celebrity... is shocking and exploitative, made worse by the fact it is purely for the sake of entertainment.

“The programme glamorises abuse and mistreatment of animals and sends entirely the wrong message to society.

The treatment of animals in I’m a Celebrity... is shocking and exploitative - Louise Robertson

“It is depressing that as a nation we are so desensitised to this type of cruelty that many will dismiss it as ‘just a bit of fun.’”

I’m a Celebrity... is no stranger to controversy and in 2010 was fined after a rat was killed and cooked on the programme.

The RSPCA in Australia said it was “not acceptable” to kill an animal as part of the performance and initially charged contestants Gino D'Acampo and Stuart Manning with animal cruelty, charges which were later dropped.

Packham, in an open letter to Ant and Dec, said: “The problem is that animals such as snakes, spiders, crocodiles, rats and many invertebrates are already misunderstood and thus unfortunately vilified, despite the incredibly important roles they play in the world's ecosystems and our lives.

“By orchestrating a fear of them among your contestants, I'm afraid you're reinforcing and exaggerating a terrible ignorance and intolerance of these remarkable animals.”

DJ Tony Blackburn, who won the first series in 2002, said in 2012: "I wouldn't have done the show if I'd had to eat bugs. They supplied Tofu for me. I don't like the way they treat creatures. I think it's cruel."

A spokesperson for the show’s producers, ITV, said: “ITV takes animal welfare very seriously and expert handlers are on hand at all times.”



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Robert Pownall
about 8 years ago
I feel that ITV should put an end to this inhumane, embarrassing and destructive aspect of an otherwise great show, and develop a new format for the show that is not centre around the mistreatment of animals and insects for entertainment purposes. Sign my petition: