TV naturalist Iolo Williams has taken to Twitter to question the use of non-native species in the I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here series being filmed in Wales.
The wildlife expert who lives near Newtown questioned why Natural Resources Wales were allowing the use of the animals.
“A question to Natural Resources Wales,” he tweeted. “Why is I’m a Celebrity allowed to release thousands of non-native species at Gwrych Castle in north Wales?
“As well as the moral issue of using wild animals for entertainment, surely there are huge ecological issues here also,” he said.
Despite not be taking place in the jungle this year, the trials involving various creepy crawlies and eating unappetising animal parts have remained, and the RSPCA has already issued a complaint to the show over its use of animals.
The show’s producers, however, said that they were “proud” of their “exemplary production practices”.
The RSPCA’s complaint stated that it has “serious concerns”, claiming that animals on the long-running show have been “dropped, thrown, handled roughly, crushed, chased, overcrowded, scared by contestants and prevented from escaping from stressful experiences” and killed solely for entertainment purposes.
It also argued that portraying certain animals as “nasty or frightening or as objects” sends out a dangerous message, and suggested some viewers may attempt to copy the trials themselves at home.
“We spoke to them about changing the way they use animals along with the change of continent – perhaps introducing welfare-friendly alternatives to animal use in the trials,” the charity wrote.
“However, we were really disappointed to be told that they would continue to be using animals in this way during this series. We know that many of you, the animal-loving public, agree with us and really dislike the use of animals in this way.”
A spokesperson for the programme said in a statement: “I’m a Celebrity complies with animal welfare law concerning the use of animals and we are proud of our exemplary production practices.
“We have a long working relationship with the RSPCA in New South Wales, Australia and as such contacted their counterparts some months ago when we knew that the programme would be made in the UK, with a view to working collaboratively with them.”