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'I'm A Celebrity' hit by over 11,000 complaints over use of live animals

Julia Hunt
·Contributor
·3-min read
Vernon Kay, Beverley Callard, Sir Mo Farah CBE, Jessica Plummer, Shane Richie, Victoria Derbyshire, AJ Pritchard, Giovanna Fletcher, Hollie Arnold MBE and Jordan North in a promotional still for I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! (ITV)
Vernon Kay, Beverley Callard, Sir Mo Farah CBE, Jessica Plummer, Shane Richie, Victoria Derbyshire, AJ Pritchard, Giovanna Fletcher, Hollie Arnold MBE and Jordan North on I'm A Celebrity (ITV)

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! is facing fresh calls to stop using live creatures after viewers lodged more than 11,000 complaints.

The ITV reality show frequently comes under fire over the use of animals and its move from the Australian jungle to Gwrych Castle in Wales has not changed things.

The RSPCA said it has received 10,697 complaints on its website, which then sends an email to Ofcom. And the media watchdog has itself received 922 complaints.

On top of that, a petition about the use of live creatures on the programme currently has more than 5,000 signatures.

Watch: AJ Pritchard makes one final dig at Shane Richie as he's eliminated from I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!

Read more: I’m A Celebrity hit by more than 500 complaints in past week

An Ofcom spokesperson told Yahoo they were assessing the complaints they had received against broadcasting rules “but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate”.

Screengrab of I'm A Celebrity trial (ITV)
Screengrab of I'm A Celebrity trial (ITV)

I'm A Celebrity has often been criticised over the issue, with naturalist Chris Packham making an annual plea to ITV to put an end to using animals in the show.

Last year did see the programme permanently call a halt to trials involving eating any live critters.

But this year’s series has seen campers including Shane Richie, Beverley Callard, Mo Farah and Vernon Kay brave a variety of stomach-churning trials involving creatures such as cockroaches, mealworms, pigeons and snakes.

RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood told Yahoo: “The RSPCA remains very concerned about the welfare of animals featured on this year’s I’m A Celebrity, and we've seen huge concern from our supporters and so many people passionate about animals.

“Since our new campaign launched, we've seen more than 10,000 supporters write to Ofcom expressing concern about the show - and we're expecting even more to follow.”

“People are increasingly aware of animal sentience - and the feelings of happiness and distress animals can experience,” he went on.

“While many of the invertebrate animals featured in the show are not protected by law, we’re really worried that using animals in this way sends a troubling message that their lives can be easily disregarded for quick entertainment.

“We hope ITV will listen to animal lovers across the UK - by stopping the use of live creatures on the show.”

Read more: I’m A Celebrity viewers call for Mo Farah to get EastEnders role

An ITV spokesperson previously said the show “complies with animal welfare law concerning the use of animals and we are proud of our exemplary production practices”.

“We have a long working relationship with the RSPCA in New South Wales, Australia, and as such contacted their counterparts some months ago when we knew that the programme would be made in the UK, with a view to working collaboratively with them,” the spokesperson said.

Watch: Two more stars eliminated from I’m A Celebrity