The third season of the popular Network Ten series I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! recently hit our screens.
The show – which originated in the UK and is broadcast in multiple countries – is known for its “Tucker Trials”, which often involve eating, grabbing, or crawling on top of live animals.
Unlike the celebrities who are paid hefty sums to take part, the animals used aren’t there by choice.
As we take a look at some of the show’s worst moments, we urge everyone to remember that all living beings – not just those who are considered cute and cuddly – want to be free from harm and that none should be exploited for so-called “entertainment”.
1. Animals Were Trapped in Cruel ‘Touch Boxes’ for Season Launch
In this season’s first episode, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Ash Pollard were tasked with sticking their hands into tanks filled with snakes, cockroaches, hairless rats, and scorpions. As the women screeched and screamed, it’s no wonder a stressed snake bit Bassingthwaighte’s hand.
2. Contestants Drank Goats’ Blood and Ate From Skulls
During this season’s “Sushi Pain” trial, menu items included offal gelatine, maggots, and goats’ blood. Disturbingly, some meals were even crudely served inside the skulls of dead animals. No living being deserves to be killed for the sake of a few cheap laughs.
3. Live Animals Were Eaten in Crude ‘Challenges’
There was huge public backlash in 2016 when contestants on the British version of the show ate live animals, including beetles, scorpions, and spiders. Many called for a boycott of the programme, and animal charities – including PETA UK – spoke out against the cruelty of eating live animals.
— The Sun (@TheSun) November 17, 2016
4. A Critically Endangered White Lion Cub Was Used as a Prop
In 2016, contestant Jo Beth Taylor was challenged to identify a mystery animal with her feet. This animal was a white lion cub, taken from a park that claimed to be involved in wildlife conservation but was allegedly rearing animals to be shot by hunters. South Africa’s National Council of SPCAs strictly warns against cub petting, and the animal-welfare group Campaign Against Canned Hunting turned down money raised by viewer votes on the show, instead speaking out against the use of the cub.
5. A Top Naturalist Spoke Out – But No Changes Were Made
British TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham wrote an open letter to the presenters of the British version of the show asking them to reconsider supporting the use and abuse of animals as well as “reinforcing and exaggerating a terrible ignorance and intolerance of these remarkable animals”. Instead of committing to stop using animals, the programme’s producers simply released a statement saying they took animal welfare “very seriously”.
Chris Packham’s open letter to Ant and Dec calling for end to I’m A Celebrity… backed by PETA http://t.co/cAkvXfXZ6f
— Catwoman (@TheSiouxfan) November 11, 2014
6. Contestants Were Charged With Cruelty to Animals After Killing a Rat
British contestants Gino D’Acampo and Stuart Manning were filming in New South Wales in 2009 when they beheaded and ate a rat, after living on rations. D’Acampo told the show’s video diary room: “I saw one of these rats running around. I got a knife, I got its throat, I picked it up”. No charges were laid against the producers.
The animals used in the series – whether rats, beetles, crocodiles, or spiders – endure stress, are held in confinement, and, in many cases, are killed. This disregard for life sends a dangerous message to viewers that abusing animals is acceptable and even entertaining.
DJ Tony Blackburn, the British winner in 2002, has also criticised the use of animals, saying, “I wouldn’t have done the show if I’d had to eat bugs … They supplied Tofu for me. I don’t like the way they treat creatures. I think it’s cruel”.
Animals deserve better than to be used in irresponsible and inhumane stunts in an attempt to boost ratings.
Millions of people have voiced their disgust at the treatment of animals on I’m a Celebrity, and it’s high time that producers in Australia and overseas heeded calls for programming free from this senseless cruelty.
Forgot how gross the ‘animals as manhandled shock props’ element of this show is #ImACelebrityAU
— Nick Bond (@bondnickbond) January 29, 2017
This is animal abuse :/ those poor animals in the water tanks are scared and mixed with predators and getting trampled on!! #ImACelebrityAU
— Rebel Scum (@Recheruu) January 29, 2017
No Celebs were harmed in the making of this program… the animals on the other hand… #ImACelebrityAU
— Darren Sanders (@ComedianSanders) January 29, 2017
Gees how many animals die in this show? #ImACelebrityAU
— Ira Snave (@IraSnave) January 29, 2017