Calls for ‘cruel’ I’m A Celebrity Bushtucker trials to be AXED just weeks before launch

29 October 2019, 10:08

I'm A Celebrity has been slammed for it's treatment of animals
I'm A Celebrity has been slammed for it's treatment of animals. Picture: ITV
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

It’s almost that time of year again when I’m A Celeb will be back on our screens. 

And just weeks before Ant and Dec are due to travel to the I’m A Celebrity Jungle, now TV presenter Chris Packham has called for the show to axe 'cruel' Bushtucker trials featuring animals.  

The Autumnwatch host said he wants to meet presenters Ant and Dec to demand the challenges stop.

He told The Mirror: “When I see them being harmed or killed for entertainment, I wonder if we are not in the Middle Ages. 

“It is no different from a circus, you know, and we have got rid of our circuses with wild animals.”

Previous Bushtucker trials have included celebrities putting live insects in their mouths, lying underground with snakes and swimming alongside crocodiles in order to win food for camp.  

Read More: I'm A Celebrity 2019: When does it start, who's in the rumoured line-up and will Ant McPartlin present?

The 58-year-old continued he’d never met the hosts of the show, but if he did they would be “chatting about it.”

He added: “People make a lot of money out of this but people made a lot of money out of child labour and slavery other unpleasant things and it didn't continue when they realised they were wrong.” 

Read More: I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here's 2019 first look REVEALED and fans can choose Ant and Dec's fate

An ITV spokesman has since replied: “I'm A Celebrity complies with all national and regional laws concerning the use of insects, animals and reptiles.”

I'm A Celebrity has come under fire
I'm A Celebrity has come under fire. Picture: ITV

This comes after Chris wrote an open letter to ITV producers in 2014 where he described the trials as “undermining a respect for life”. 

He wrote: "The problem is that animals such as snakes, spiders, crocodiles, rats and many invertebrates are already misunderstood and thus unfortunately vilified, despite the incredibly important roles they play in the world's ecosystems and our lives.

"By orchestrating a fear of them among your contestants, I'm afraid you're reinforcing and exaggerating a terrible ignorance and intolerance of these remarkable animals."

Chris also argued that the animals are bound to be hurt during filming, adding: "I can guarantee that some animals are harmed during production, because they are fragile or easily stressed. Or simply killed, as they are in your bushtucker trials."