Animal Aid

CELEBRITY ANIMALS - A formal complaint

Posted 1 February 2004

Animal Aid has lodged the following formal complaint with Granada, the producers of ITV's 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!' and Ofcom, the TV regulatory body, regarding the abuse of wild animals in the programme's 'Bush tucker trials'.

Animal Aid would like to lodge a formal complaint regarding the use of animals in endurance tests in 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here'.

The first programme in the series (26 Jan 2004) saw insects, a snake and an eel being tipped into tanks. The eel, in particular, was obviously in distress and could clearly be seen thrashing about trying to get out of the tank.

Capturing and handling eels causes them distress. Keeping them out of water is also traumatic - they are able to breathe out of water for only a short period of time, having insects and maggots crawl over them further compounds the fear, discomfort and stress they will be feeling. Touching a fish will cause pain and damage their skin, contact with the acid in human sweat hurts them will leave them exposed to fungal and bacterial infections.

Since then contestants have been made to eat live insects and witchetty grubs - which will obviously cause them distress!, rats have been tipped into a box of water to crawl over one of the contestants but would have had nothing to cling to once she was dragged out - what happened to them? - and another celebrity was made to crawl through a tank crammed with eels in shallow water.

Using wild animals for the purposes of shock entertainment is unacceptable.

Animal Aid has called upon the programme makers to issue a formal statement that they will no longer irresponsibly exploit wild animals in the production of future episodes but we have yet to receive a reply. Instead, they are issuing a standard response claiming no animals are being harmed, but this is clearly untrue.

Furthermore, using animals in these endurance tests implies it is acceptable to torment and harm animals for 'fun' and has the potential to desensitise certain members of the audience and lead them to carry out acts of cruelty to animals for their personal amusement. The RSPCA has already claimed that shows such as "I'm a celebrity..." are probably to blame for a rise in the number of cases of animal abuse they are having to investigate.

Please lodge a complaint with Granada plc and Ofcom to stop future series of the programme abusing other wild animals in this way. See our news bulletin for contact details.

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