Health & Fitness ITV I’m A Celebrity hit with 17,000 complaints over same problem with Bushtucker Trials
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I’m A Celebrity has been hit with thousands of complaints about the same issue this season. More than 17,000 people have contactedto beg them to stop using live animals on the show. The RSPCA said this is the number of its supporters who have complained after the charity took a stand against live animals being used in Bushtucker Trials.
The charity claims the complaints have been sent to ITV Viewer Services over the use and portrayal of live animals,. The series, in which former Health Secretary made a surprise appearance, has returned to Australia after a two-year stint in Wales during the pandemic.
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Last year, the RSPCA said more than 13,000 of its supporters complained about live animals and that nothing has changed this year. It says ITV’s production team are putting sentient animals, such as reptiles, in distressing situations and that invertebrate animals have been at risk of being crushed during Bushtucker Trials.
RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said: "Sadly, we are once again seeing many live animals on our TV screens put in situations that could compromise their welfare for a quick laugh. We are also concerned at the way the programme portrays animals; it risks trivialising their lives for the sake of light entertainment.
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“With people discussing how scared they are, and animals portrayed in such a negative light, this programme is a long way from the RSPCA’s vision of a world where all animals are respected and treated with kindness and compassion.
“And now that animal sentience – the ability of animals to have positive and negative experiences like pain, distress or pleasure – is recognised in UK law, portraying live animals to UK viewers in this way inis out of sync with this progressive step back home.
"We've previously urged the production company behind I'm a Celebrity to think again and entertain the animal-loving UK public without resorting to anti-animal Bushtucker Trials; and now thousands of supporters have written to ITV Viewer Services to back us too.
"It’s encouraging that a record 17,000 of our supporters have already written to ITV this year to air their views. We believe it is very possible to produce this programme without compromising the welfare of animals, so urge all those connected with 'I'm a Celebrity' to re-think and update this show in line with public opinion."
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The RSPCA, which carried out a survey in which 36 million people described themselves as animal lovers, said it was concerned the programme may cause viewers to develop negative perceptions of certain animals, or that people may mimic the trials.
A spokesperson from I’m a Celebrity 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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