'I'm a Celebrity' pair in rat-eating row
Sunday 06 December 2009
Gino D'Acampo, the winner of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, and fellow contestant Stuart Manning are facing criminal charges for animal cruelty after cooking and eating a rat on the TV programme.
The pair were members of a group in "exile" for part of the series, which meant meagre rations of rice and beans.
A lack of meat prompted the contestants to apparently catch, kill and eat a rat.
D'Acampo, 33, said in 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."
The group, including 30-year-old Manning, ate the rat and enjoyed the meal.
Chief Inspector David Oshannessy, from the RSPCA in New South Wales, said it was not acceptable that an animal had been killed as part of a performance.
He said: "The allegation is that an animal was cruelly treated on the set. It was a rat that was killed. There is a code of conduct in New South Wales that dictates how animals can be used. The killing of a rat for a performance is not acceptable."
The charity sends staff whenever animals are used for filmed or live performances, he said, and so had been in contact with the programme's producers before the rat was killed.
When they were told what had happened, they decided to take action.
A spokesman for New South Wales Police said: "Police from Murwillumbah yesterday issued field court attendance notices to two men aged 30 and 33 for the offence of animal cruelty. They are due to attend court at Murwillumbah local court on February 3, 2009." ITV was unavailable for comment.
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