Im A Celeb receives 12,000 Ofcom complaints over portrayal of animals

I’m A Celebrity… has been hit with over 12,000 complaints about the use of live animals in its infamous trials.

More than 12,000 viewers have written to TV watchdog Ofcom about their concerns, accusing the show of being cruel to the creatures on the show.

The show features gruelling challenges that contestants must complete in order to win food and perks for their camp and often uses live animals such as snakes, lizards, rats and various insects in its trials.

However, many viewers are calling for the show to stop using animals in the show out of concern for their welfare.

Dr Ros Clubb, from the RSPCA's wildlife department, expressed worries about animal welfare being compromised for “nothing more than a quick laugh”.

They said in a statement: “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.

“Recent weeks have once again seen many live animals put in situations that would compromise their welfare for nothing more than a quick laugh – and once again we've been really worried about what we have seen.

“Naturally solitary species have been grouped together in confined spaces, different species have been mixed in stressful situations, animals have been put into confined spaces alongside panicked celebrities and thousands of insects and other invertebrates have been poured on top of campers and risk being crushed.

“The way insects and other animals are used also trivialises the lives of these animals – at a time when debates around animal sentience are more prominent in society than ever before."

Recent trials include the ‘Tomb of Doom’, where pop star and presenter Frankie Bridge was locked in a box of snakes, and ‘Gross Vegas’, which saw producer Naughty Boy covered in hundreds of live insects.

ITV recently stressed their “rigorous protocols” when it comes to animal welfare, with a spokesperson saying: “The team at I’m A Celebrity have many years of experience in producing the show and have rigorous protocols in place to ensure that animals are handled safely before, during, and after filming, in compliance with animal welfare law. Welfare and safety is always our primary priority.”

The 21st series of I’m A Celeb ended on Sunday, with ex-Emmerdale star Danny Miller being crowned as the King of the castle.

Meanwhile, a source recently suggested the show may return to Gwyrch Castle in Wales for a third year running next year, due to uncertainty around travel restrictions to its usual filming location in Australia.

I’m A Celebrity is available to watch on ITV Hub.

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