Im A Celebrity fans threaten to boycott over disgusting animal use

Paul Burrell takes on I’m A Celebrity…South Africa trial

I’m A Celebrity South Africa hit screens earlier this week with Geordie duo Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly hosting the reality show.

The star-studded line-up of contestants includes former I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! icons such as Gillian McKeith, Carol Vorderman and Phil Tuffnell.

However, ITV viewers have been lashing out on social media in recent days about the use of live animals such as rats and reptiles for entertainment.

Paul Burrell, Shaun Ryder and Janice Dickinson were the first campmates this year to take on an animal-related challenge by putting their arms into holes filled with rats and spiders.

The use of living creatures on the show has angered a mountain of viewers who have been taking to social media to complain.

The RSPCA tweeted before the opening episode: “As a new series of I’m A Celeb launches, we fear that year again we’ll see live animals being exploited for entertainment purposes.”

@FlopsyPickle shared: “I see ‘I’m A Celeb’ are still traumatising animals in the name of ‘entertainment’, but because they aren’t cute and fluffy people don’t give a s**t, like all those so-called animal lovers who happily eat them.” (sic)

Lisa Gaughan said: “I hate this show. There is no need to use animals, it’s disgusting.”

British Vets tweeted: “There’s a place for animals in entertainment, but #ImACeleb is not it. We’re calling on everyone to #SwitchOff the show if

@itvstudios @imacelebrity hasn’t taken our serious #AnimalWelfare concerns on board.” (sic)

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However, the title card at the end of each episode says: “I’m A Celebrity complies with animal welfare law concerning the use of animals.”

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! was hit with a record number of complaints last year, with 71,000 slamming the Bush Tucker Trials.

PETA, the animal charity, received 54,000 complaints over animal welfare during the trials and the RSPCA was inundated with 17,000 complaints from viewers over animals being used in tasks.

RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood told The Sun last year: “Sadly, we are once again seeing many live animals on our TV screens put in situations that could compromise their welfare for a quick laugh.

“We are also concerned at the way the programme portrays animals; it risks trivialising their lives for the sake of light ‘entertainment’.”

An I’m A Celebrity South Africa representative has been contacted by for comment.

Despite the backlash, almost five million viewers still tuned into Monday’s instalment of the reality series, making it ITV’s highest weekday audience this year.

A total of 4.9 million viewers tuned into watch the opening episode compared to 10 million viewers who watched I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! when it launched last November.

I’m A Celebrity South Africa continues on ITV and ITVX at 9pm tomorrow.

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