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I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! bosses have defended the use of animals on the show after the RSPCA voiced concerns over portraying species as 'nasty' or as 'objects that can be used purely for entertainment'.
Ahead of this year's debut of the ITV programme, the RSPCA expressed its 'serious concerns' about the welfare of animals set to be featured.
But after last night's episode saw contestants Shane Richie and Jordan North locked in a pit with snakes, and a previous challenge involved various bugs being thrown over the celebs, ITV producers have defended the show's practices, insisting that they comply with animal welfare law.
A spokesperson for I'm a Celebrity told Metro in a statement: "I'm A Celebrity 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."
In an RSPCA statement released ahead of this year's show - the first to be set in the UK, rather than Australia - the organisation said it worried about the use of animals for entertainment, based on previous iterations of I'm a Celebrity.
"We have serious concerns about the welfare of animals set to be featured on the new UK-based I'm a Celebrity TV show," the statement said.
"Since I'm a Celebrity was first aired, animals have been dropped, thrown, handled roughly, crushed, chased, overcrowded, scared by contestants and prevented from escaping from stressful experiences.
The Viper Vault almost got the better of @jordannorth1, but channeling his happy place saw him and @realshanerichie bag an impressive 9 stars for Camp! :star2: #ImACeleb pic.twitter.com/USwymG0Ac5
- I'm A Celebrity... (@imacelebrity) November 16, 2020
"There have also been incidents where animals have been killed for no other purpose than entertainment.
"The show's messaging and the potential to prompt people to try and copy the Bushtucker Trials at home for entertainment is also worrying and we feel that deliberately portraying certain species as nasty or frightening or as objects that can be used purely for entertainment rather than sentient, living creatures sends out totally the wrong message."
The RSPCA said it was 'very pleased' that producers had reached out to the animal charity during the planning stages of the 2020 programme, but were on the whole 'disappointed' by the outcome.
The statement continued: "We spoke to them about changing the way they use animals along with the change of continent - perhaps introducing welfare-friendly alternatives to animal use in the trials.
"However, we were really disappointed to be told that they would continue to be using animals in this way during this series. We know that many of you, the animal loving public, agree with us and really dislike the use of animals in this way."
LADbible has contacted ITV for further comment.
Featured Image Credit: ITV
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