There is a problem with the very popular ITV television programme “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!” It is this: it entails animal abuse in order to make it work. And the high profile and well-known animal rights organisation, PETA, has written an open letter to Ant and Dec to resign from the programme. The duo are as popular as the show they present. There is little or no chance that they’ll resign.
PETA say on their website that the programme abuses animals when the celebrity participants perform “ghastly acts such as sticking their hands or heads into tanks filled with insects, spiders, mice, rats, or fish”. The participants are asked to crawl into small places on top of a pile of rats or insects. They say that animals are killed off camera before contestants are pressured into eating them. The animals are used in “tired, tacky, cruel stunts”. The program must end as it is dependent upon animal abuse.
The animals don’t have a choice. They’re not there by consent as are the humans. They endure stress. Some lose their lives for cheap laughs.
The show has been running for a long time and therefore there has been a lot of animal abuse over that time. I would include, by the way, insects as animals.
In Britain, the RSPCA have joined in the condemnation of this popular television show. They say that there has been a record number of complaints to the RSPCA about the use of live animals in the show.
The show has been controversial in respect of issues of animals since its launch in 2002. This year, the RSPCA have received more than 17,000 complaints about the show. This is more than any other series.
The chief executive of the RSPCA, Chris Sherwood, said:
“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’.”
The last point is an important one. Many activities that humans do with animals can trivialise the animal. It can devalue the animal which can indirectly lead to further abuses. Humankind needs to move in the opposite direction: to enhance the value of animals and thereby respect them to protect them. They share the planet with us. Humans manage the planet. Humans have an obligation to maintain high standards of animal welfare.
Of course, ITV defend their programme with great alacrity by saying that they comply with all the relevant laws and that animal welfare and safety is “always the primary priority of any of our programs”.
They make sure that they inform RSPCA NSW (New South Wales) about all the activities in the show. They invite the RSPCA to attend the show at any time. They have rigourous protocols et cetera et cetera.
I agree. But that doesn’t actually deal with the accusations of PETA and the RSPCA. It seems that the RSPCA in New South Wales is compliant with the animal abuse in the show whereas the RSPCA in the UK disagrees with it.
There’s no getting around the problem that there is a form of animal abuse and perhaps it’s allowed because the animals are already heavily devalued. They are nasty creepy crawlers and other objectionable animals that people feel free to abuse.