ITV fined over 'I'm a celebrity' rat killing

ITV was fined for animal cruelty after contestants on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! killed and ate a rat, the Australian RSPCA said today.

Celebrity chef Gino D'Acampo and Hollyoaks actor Stuart Manning killed the animal with a knife when they were left without meat during the reality series.

Chief Inspector David Oshannessy, from the RSPCA, said ITV was fined 3,000 Australian dollars (£1,903) and will pay 2,576 dollars (£1,634) in costs.

He said: "It's a reasonable result. It reflects the fact that all animals are protected by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

"The animal was killed for a TV show, that's not appropriate. The raw footage indicates that, from the first attempt, it took about 90 seconds before it actually died.

"The legislation says that an animal can be killed for human consumption provided it does not cause unnecessary suffering. Had it been killed and it was over and done with, we might not be having this conversation."

ITV said it would make sure that nothing similar happened in future series, and would take advice from the RSPCA on the necessary training involved.

A spokesman said: "ITV has apologised for the mistake which led to this incident.

"The production was unaware that killing a rat could be an offence, criminal or otherwise in New South Wales, and accepts that further inquiries should have been made.

"This was an oversight and we have since thoroughly reviewed our procedures and are putting in place a comprehensive training programme to ensure that this does not happen in future series."

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