I’m A Celeb fans told to boycott show if ‘cruel’ Bushtucker trials aren’t axed

I'm A Celebrity fans have been asked to stand up to the show for their choice of gruesome Bushtucker trials that use thousands of wild animals and creepy critters.

More than eight million fans are predicted to tune into Sunday’s opening episode – but animal rights campaign group Peta is encouraging people not to.

The ITV series – which is hosted by Geordie double act Ant and Dec – will be filmed at the Gwrych Castle in Wales for the second year in a row due to Covid restrictions.

The animal rights charity has long complained against the use of animals on the show – accusing ITV of using live rats, snakes, spiders cockroaches and mealworms for the sake of “cheap laughs”.

Peta UK’s media and communications manager, Jennifer White, told the Metro that ITV “must change the structure of the show" if they want to remain popular.

She continued: “Every season of this show brings more cruelty to our screens.

“Animals are terrified and abused and killed for these challenges and it’s all for a cheap laugh.

“We encourage everyone to boycott watching this year’s show.”

The Peta spokeswoman also added that it is "incredibly disappointing" that the swap from Australia to Wales did mean a change of format of the show.

Jennifer touched upon how fans urged ITV to ban the live animal eating challenges due to being disgusted, so they did cut out that but it's not enough, she says.

She added: "But we’re still seeing animals being treated in these incredibly horrific ways, all to try and up their TV ratings.”

It’s not just the Bushtucker Trials where Peta accuses I’m A Celeb of animal abuse, with her recalling the moment when “a rat was stabbed to death in the camp”.

In 2009, Gino D’Acampo and Stuart Manning stabbed and killed a rat that was “running around the camp”, with the pair later eating the rodent with their meal.

ITV was fined £1,660 for animal cruelty over the incident, as a Sydney court was told how the rat took more than a minute to die after being stabbed.

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