Ant and Dec in the jungle

I’m A Celebrity bosses insist ‘rigorous protocols’ are in place as RSPCA urges viewers to complain’ over live animal use

The show continues to use them in Bushtucker Trials

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I’m A Celebrity top dogs have insisted there are measures in place on the ITV show to protect animal welfare. This is despite calls from the RSPCA for the show to stop the use of animals in trials.

In a statement on the charity’s website, it describes I’m A Celebrity, now in its 23rd season, as “one of the most worrying” reality shows on TV due to the use of live animals.

I'm A Celebrity... screengrab
Live animals often feature in the show’s trials (Credit: ITV)

RSPCA urges supporters to contact Ofcom

The charity claims that since the show began, animals have been dropped, thrown, crushed, crashed, handled roughly and scared. It added: “We feel that deliberately portraying certain species as nasty or frightening or as objects that can be used purely for entertainment rather than sentient, living creatures sends out totally the wrong message.”

It urges viewers to complete the form on its website, to complain to Ofcom.

I’m A Celebrity often comes in for criticism from the RSPCA and similar organisations for its use of animals. In 2009 Gino D’Acampo and Stuart Manning were famously charged by New South Wales Police. This came after RSPCA Australia complained about them killing and eating a rat during their time in the jungle.

Meanwhile, BBC Springwatch presenter Megan McCubbin has also slammed the show for using live animals in recent weeks.

Gino D'Acampo and Stuart Manning on I'm A Celebrity...
Former campmates Gino D’Acampo and Stuart Manning landed themselves in hot water for killing and eating a rat in 2009 (Credit: ITV)

I’m A Celebrity bosses defend ITV show

However, the show’s bosses have responded to concerns in a statement. They said: “We are always fully transparent about our protocols and we have a very strict environmental plan in place on the show. As a production, we comply with all regional and national laws concerning the use of insects, animals and reptiles.

“Welfare and safety is always the primary priority on any of our programmes. And, at any Bushtucker trial that features animals, we have qualified and experienced animal handlers on site at all times. We inform the RSPCA NSW of all of our activities on the show. And, they have an open invitation to attend the site at any time.

“We cannot stress enough that we have rigorous protocols in place to ensure that animals are handled safely at all times, before, during and after any filming has taken place, in compliance with all regional and national laws.”

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