Ant and Dec blasted over ‘appalling’ animal cruelty as Chris Packham slams I’m A Celebrity

Safe to say he's no a fan of the show…

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Hosts of I’m A Celebrity Ant and Dec were sent a furious open letter by animal activist Chris Packham late last year.

The 63-year-old, who is the president of RSPCA, shared the document on his Twitter after he said that he “tried to be polite” but his patience had “run thin”. The animal welfare campaigner said that he had not received replies to his previous letters. So he decided to be “more frank and forthright”.

It came as Ofcom complaints about the use of animals in the show’s Bushtucker Trials was lodged. I’m A Celebrity aired in November 2023, with Sam Thompson being announced as the winner.

Chris Packham talks about the earth and his activism
Chris Packham called I’m A Celebrity an anachronistic embarrassment (Credit: YouTube)

Chris Packham slammed I’m A Celebrity hosts Ant and Dec for animal abuse

At the time, the presenter, who is on screen for Springwatch on June 6, described the ITV series as an “anachronistic embarrassment” and a “grotesque blot on the reputations”.

He claimed it “doesn’t appear to give a [bleep]” about the welfare of animals used on the show.

He continued: “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here remains a grotesque blot on the reputations of both yourselves and ITV. Its continued exploitation of animals for entertainment is an anachronistic embarrassment and betrays a dangerous disconnect between a world increasingly concerned with an environmental crisis, and a reckless and marginalised part of the media which doesn’t appear to give a [bleep].”

‘Not strict enough’

The BBC presenter claimed that it’s “unacceptable” to use animals, insects and bugs in the trials for entertainment. He also mentioned that Ant and Dec can change things. So will they ahead of the next series?

Speaking about the show’s animal welfare, Chris told the Daily Mail: “They’re not strict enough in my opinion. Animals are there to be marvelled at to appreciate and respect. But to have them in this capacity in entertainment and a lot of the language used in these trials is quite negative.

“I’m not a fan of the show. I don’t watch it and I won’t until they drastically change things. You can do great trials, you can do adventurous things and crazy daredevil experiences without involving animals. Especially in a negative way,” he added.

This comes after the show came under the radar of the RSPCA after viewers complained to Ofcom in a bid to stop the use of such creatures.

“With our previous calls for change ignored. We’re more concerned than ever about the use of live animals on the show and the example it sets for viewers. The show’s messaging and the potential to prompt people to try and copy the ‘bushtucker trials’ at home for entertainment is also worrying. We feel that deliberately portraying certain species as nasty or frightening.”

“While we understand that I’m a Celeb is a popular form of entertainment, we’re only asking producers to stop using living creatures in this capacity,” they concluded.

Read more: GMB viewers applaud Chris Packham for shutting down ‘patronising’ Richard Madeley

Springwatch airs June 6 from 8pm on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

Chris Packham On The Earth And Activism | Good Morning Britain

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