ITV’s hit show ‘I’m A Celebrity’ has been approached by the RSPCA over concerns regarding its use of animals. The animal rights charity organisation has reached out numerous times over the years and never received a response, until this year.
The show, hosted by Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, involves celebrities being challenged with vaults of snakes, spiders, various insects and even trials including eating animal body parts. Most, if not all, of the trials involve the use of animals in an attempt to frighten the contestants and provide entertainment.
In response to the show’s use of animals, the RSPCA released a message on their webpage, outlining why they were concerned.
“The show’s messaging and the potential to prompt people to try and copy the ‘bushtucker trials’ at home for entertainment is also worrying and 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.”
Ahead of this season, ITV responded to the RSPCA by including them in the planning process for the show. However, ITV responded, stating that they would continue to use animals in the same way as previous series.
This sparked huge public discussion, with many divided on either side of the debate.
I'm a celeb normalises animal cruelty. About time the RSPCA spoke out publicly!
— Hayley Jones (@HayJayVegan) November 20, 2020
@RSPCA_official knew it wouldn’t be long before you would pipe up! That’s why they do I’m a celeb in Australia not here.. their not little babies! Just fuck off hurting a snakes feelings 😂 fuck off
— michael (@michaelp1415) November 17, 2020
I love @antanddec & I'm all for having a laugh & TV entertainment but any exploitation of animals, whatever their size, is not entertainment and should be banned. All creatures should be treated with respect as they have feelings & show stress @ITV @imacelebrity @RSPCA_official https://t.co/63EzW6jwpW
— Paula George (@littlepg25) November 18, 2020
‘We’ll continue to urge ITV and the production company to rethink the way they use animals in I’m A Celebrity and replace the challenges with animal-friendly alternatives. We’ll be watching the programme and will flag up any concerns we have to the producers.’
The RSPCA urges anyone, who is also concerned about the welfare of animals on the programme, to contact Ofcom or ITV.
Words: Jessica Noble | Subbing: Arwa Nadeem