The RSPCA has called on ITV to change its ‘anti-animal’ programme ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’, claiming that the farm-based jungle trials have created a ‘cesspit’ on the Channel 4 reality show.
The series, which starts on Sunday, will continue to have contestants who are introduced to the animal kingdom as part of their preparation for a ‘bushtucker trial’. In previous series, the contestants were seen encountering crocodiles, snakes, scorpions and cockroaches on the programme.
But the RSPCA said that this year’s series would leave animals on ITV’s farms with a ‘complete lack of protection’ and added that the shows result in animals being ‘subjected to extreme cruelty’.
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: “It’s appalling to think that this, after all the hard work that these animals have put in, will be their last. There is no doubt this undermines their trust in humans, which can lead to problems in the future.
“We don’t have an issue with teams being shown how to be prepared for a Bushtucker Trial or their physical capacity to survive in the bush, but we do have issues with these animal farm conditions.
“The way the celebrities are shown how to feed, raise, socialise and care for an animal on a farm undermines all they’ve done in their efforts to prepare for the trial. They are so tiny that a male elephant could not possibly provide the necessary companionship, and the elephants aren’t independent of mothers and children.”
According to the RSPCA, the celebrity camp mates in 2016 were expected to care for over 200 animals.
The RSPCA has called on ITV to change the filming of ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’ and to give the celebrity campmates in the upcoming series the opportunity to be trained in animal behaviour, behaviour management and animal welfare on a farm instead.
A spokesman for ITV said: “In response to the concerns raised by the RSPCA we do have a number of veterinary care plans and alternative care arrangements in place.
“However, we are committed to giving our celebrities the opportunity to get themselves acclimatised to the Australian jungle, and in particular to those animals on the Aussie farms, to help them understand the environment and to encourage them to integrate successfully.
“So we hope that our celebrities will enjoy themselves and the trials.”
According to the RSPCA, last year three of the original ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’. appear to have reunited this year after being separated during filming.
The magazine Zoo reported that Frankie Bridge, Chris Eubank and Ola Jordan all travelled to Australia and said that the other camp mates are talking about meeting up and attempting a jungle survival challenge.
A source told the magazine: “Not all the stars have already seen each other. Chris is sure that there will be some bushtucker trials, so everyone will have to be ready.
“Chris might want to try the creepy crawlies, Frankie might like to try a kangaroo anus, and Ola might want to feed the crocodiles.”