The UK vegan wildlife expert and broadcaster Chris Packham has written a letter to the presenters of the ITV show I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!, Ant and Dec, complaining about the cruel exploitation of animals the programme is known for.
The infamous show, launched in 2002 and recorded in places such as South Africa or Australia, features Bushtucker trials where campmates (celebrities of some sort, including disgraced politicians) can be covered in insects. In other gruesome trials, participants are tasked with drinking blended animal parts that are unusual for their regular diets (while they may routinely eat all sorts of animal parts at home, equally gruesome to a vegan). Countless animals have been thrown, crushed alive, confined to unnatural spaces, and killed throughout the 20 years the show’s been airing.
Packham wrote, “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! remains a grotesque blot on the reputations of both yourselves and ITV. Its continued exploitation of animals for entertainment is an anachronistic embarrassment and betrays a dangerous disconnect between a world increasingly concerned with an environmental crisis, and a reckless… part of the media which doesn’t appear to give a shit…Look at the world, listen to the voices of concern, read the writing on the wall. Circuses have gone, dancing bears have gone, cock and dog fighting are the sad preserve of psychopathic criminals. We have no performing dolphins in the UK and no chimpanzees dressed up for tea time…The cruel exploitation of wildlife for gratuitous entertainment on your programme continues to damage the great reputation of the UK as a ‘nation of animal lovers’.”
In 2022, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals received 17,000 complaints about the show’s treatment of animals.