I'm A Celebrity 2014: Chris Packham criticises 'repugnant' treatment of animals on ITV show

The Springwatch presenter said the show sometimes bordered the 'barbaric'

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The Independent Culture

Chris Packham has criticised I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here for its “repugnantly gratuitous” treatment of wild animals.

The Springwatch presenter said the show’s use of animals such as snakes, spiders, crocodiles and rats undermined a respect for life and sometimes bordered the “barbaric”.

In a letter to the show’s hosts Ant and Dec published in the Radio Times, Packham said the programme’s “doctoring” of animals that are not dangerous or significantly toxic was a “sham”.

The naturalist said the show was “reinforcing terrible ignorance” about these animals among viewers, despite the "important roles" they play in the world’s ecosystems.

 

“My request is motivated on several grounds; welfare, stereotyping and undermining a respect for life, which then impacts negatively upon conservation. And that it spoils the show because it’s simply out of date, some would say barbaric.

“And actually it’s often pretty silly too, because many viewers recognise that the species used are not dangerous, or significantly toxic or venomous in the first place. Or that they’ve been 'doctored'...It’s a sham,” he wrote.

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He urged the primetime reality TV show to set a better example to its audience, adding that young viewers were being taught to find wild animals repulsive rather than to respect them.

He added that although he knew the show hired consultants to advise on animal welfare, he did not think standards were always met.

“I’m afraid I can guarantee that some animals are harmed during production, because they are fragile or easily stressed. Or simply killes, as they are in your ‘Bushtucker Trials,’” he said.

Ant and Dec declined to reply to the letter. In a statement, ITV said: “Ant are Dec are the presenters of the show and as such are not involved with the formatting of the trials, which are devised by the show’s producers.

“ITV takes animal welfare very seriously and expert handlers are on hand at all times.”

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