I’m A Celebrity slammed by RSPCA who have ‘serious concerns’ over animal treatment
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I'm A Celenbrity… Get Me Out Of Here! has come under heavy criticism by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals just a few days into the new series.
The RSPCA has slammed the show and have said they have "serious concerns" about the use of live animals in the Bushtucker Trials.
With the series taking place in the UK for the first time, at Gwrych Castle in North Wales, the animal charity is keeping a close eye on proceedings to see if any regulations are broken.
Viewers watched on Monday as BBC Radio One DJ Jordan North and former EastEnders star Shane Richie took part in The Viper Vault trial in which they were joined by dozens of snakes.
On Monday's episode, Jordan North and Shane Richie both took part in The Viper Vault trial with dozens of snakes.
I'm A Celebrity bosses are criticised by RSPCA who have 'serious concerns' about the way animals are treated on the series
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On Sunday, several campers participated in the Gates To Hell trial which saw them showered with cockroaches, mealworms and crickets.
The RSPCA released a statement, saying: "Since I'm a Celebrity was first aired, animals have been dropped, thrown, handled roughly, crushed, chased, overcrowded, scared by contestants and prevented from escaping from stressful experiences.
"There have also been incidents where animals have been killed for no other purpose than entertainment."
The animal charity is worried what impression viewers are getting about the handling of animals.
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The statement continued: "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."
The RSPCA said that they voiced their concerns with ITV bosses before the show but are worried that their views have ultimately been ignored and are disappointed with what they have seen so far.
The statement continued: "Throughout the years, we've been raising our concerns with the production company about how animals were being treated on the Australia-based programme, but we never received a response from the show.
"We were very pleased when the show's production company got in touch with us in the planning stages of this year's series, set here in the UK."
The animal welfare charity said they suggested changes but are disappointed at what they have seen.
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The charity continued: "We spoke to them about changing the way they use animals along with the change of continent – perhaps introducing welfare-friendly alternatives to animal use in the trials.
"However, we were really disappointed to be told that they would continue to be using animals in this way during this series.
"We know that many of you, the animal loving public, agree with us and really dislike the use of animals in this way."
The RSPCA added they would continue to put pressure on I'm A Celebrity bosses to "rethink" their use of animals on the show.
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They continued: "We'll be watching the programme and will flag up any concerns we have to the producers.
"Unfortunately, a number of the animals used in the challenges, such as cockroaches and crickets, are invertebrates and aren't covered by the Animal Welfare Act or the Performing Animals Act, which apply in Wales.
"This means they have little protection under the law.
"However, if we're alerted to concerns about other animals which are covered by these laws being caused suffering or distress during this programme, we'll look into this, and, where appropriate, investigate.
"Where we can act, we will."
Viewers have been urged by the RSPCA to complain to Ofcom or to ITV itself if they feel that any animals have been mistreated.
A spokesperson for the programme told the Daily Star : "I'm A Celebrity complies with animal welfare law concerning the use of animals and we are proud of our exemplary production practices."
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