For years, I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! has faced criticism for using live animals on the ITV show – with this year’s anger from the public said to be ‘even stronger’ than previous series
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! has reportedly received thousands of Ofcom complaints over the use of live animals on the show.
The long-running ITV series has been the subject of controversy for many years, thanks to the inclusion of animals – dead and alive – in the gruesome trials the celebrities take part in.
Former Emmerdale actor Danny Miller was crowned the first King of the Castle during Sunday night’s final, as the reality TV show’s 21st series came to an end after a string of disasters impacting the show since November’s launch.
Despite stars such as David Ginola, Simon Gregson and Frankie Bridge winning the nation over, the ITV show hasn’t been able to escape the annual criticism over the decision to use animals for entertainment in the camp trials.
The I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! team have been keen to stress that they ensure animal welfare law is complied with during production, with an ITV spokesperson telling the Metro that the show has “rigorous protocols in place to ensure that animals are handles safely before, during, and after filming, in compliance with animal welfare law”.
The spokesperson added that the welfare and safety of the animals used on the show is always their “primary priority”.
Despite ITV’s reassurances, many viewers believe it’s time for the show to move on from including animals as props and trials, with the RSPCA claming 12,000 people have contacted Ofcom to complain regarding the issue.
In a statement posted to their website, Dr Ros Clubb, from the RSPCA’s wildlife department, said: “We’re overwhelmed by the response from the public to our campaign against the use of live animals in the I’m a Celeb show.
“More than 12,000 have already written to Ofcom to express concern – with the reaction from the public even stronger than last year, when the programme was filmed in North Wales for the first time.”
He then goes on to state that seeing many live animals used on the show for “nothing more than a quick laugh” has caused the charity to be “really worried” about what they have watched.
“Different species of animal – such as snakes and rats – have been placed in close proximity during trials, potentially causing significant stress to both species. Animals have also been handled inappropriately by contestants,” the RSPCA wrote prior to the show’s final on Sunday.
“Trials often take place outside – and with temperatures having dropped over recent weeks, the RSPCA is also concerned this environment is unsuitable for animals such as lizards and snakes that cannot produce their own body heat, with it being unclear whether suitable sources of heat and light are being used.”
The charity also noted that the series had been aired during a time when legislation is going through parliament to fulfill a UK Government pledge to recognise animal sentience in UK law – and there are calls for the Welsh Government to do the same in Wales too.
Speaking to the Metro, an Ofcom spokesperson said: “We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.”
The Mirror has contacted representatives for ITV for comment.
*I’m A Celebrity is available to watch on ITV Hub.