Trophy hunting sent us in hysterics but when it is for our own entertainment we turn a blind eye. What does this say about us as a nation of animal lovers?
I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here is a show I was obsessed with when it first started back in 2002 (being 14 at the time) but in the latter years I started to step back and change my perspective. I now watch the thousands of insects and arachnids thrown onto celebrities, 40 snakes squeezed into a small glass tank, celebrities crawling through rat tunnels and live animals eaten for entertainment.
So here is the question; Do we not consider foul treatment of invertebrates, reptiles and small mammals abuse or are we purposefully ignoring the signs for our own entertainment?
Animal Cruelty Is Wrong
Reading this we all know animal abuse is wrong, so why is it OK on a TV show? I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here was an instant success and is easy to see why, watching a bunch of celebrities roughing it up in the Australian jungle, taking part in trails to win food, being dunked and covered in thousands of crawling jungle critters is a chance to see our beloved celebrities squirm & squeal while Anthony McPartlin & Declan Donnelly (Ant & Dec) bring their unique chemistry and comedy.
Animals used for the show include Cockroaches, Green Ants, Snakes, Eels, Huntsman Spiders, Scorpions and many, many more. For a lot of people this is pure gold entertainment, but for zoo keepers and charities (anyone who works with animals) see the abuse of animals that can’t protect themselves.
Insects are not classed as a sentient animals, meaning they have no ability to perceive pain or emotions. Whether you agree with that or not we should still be considering their right to life and our respect of it. Just because it has 6 legs instead of 4 or 2 it stops us from respecting it any less?
Green Ants– Green ants are known for delivering quite a painful bite if threatened, this is one animal on I’m A Celebrity… that the contestants get bitten by a lot. It does beg the question that if an insect like this is not a sentient animal, when will it ‘feel’ threatened and defend itself?
Rats – Rats are also a very popular animal used on the show, sadly a lot of people do have a fear of these animals, the contestants get put into the most obscure places, dropping these poor rats in with them at the same time. Here is Mark Wrights’ reaction back in 2011. You can plainly see the rats are posing no threat whatsoever so his reaction is in my opinion completely over the top or just for the cameras. He has now taught all the viewers out there that this is an animal to be feared, not cool Mr Wright (or Mr Wrong from now on).
In this years series, Carol Vorderman took on a challenge with Scarlett Moffatt where they were both asked to eat live invertebrates. The show stopper was Carol being asked to eat a live scorpion. This is about as inhumane as you can get. Imagine for a moment it was a live rabbit put in front of you and then being asked to eat it. Would you do it? No? How is doing the same to a scorpion any different? Why isn’t this considered torture?
I understand in different countries insects are eaten as a delicacy and is considered as a sustainable source of protein, but there is a different between using an animal for food and using an animals obvious discomfort and distress for the entertainment of others (or yourself).
Last year Ferne McCann was told to swirl the arachnid in the glass first before eating it, as it would put it in a temporary state of paralysis causing it to squeeze itself into a tight ball. Is this not torture? Causing the poor animal to curl up in fear before being eaten in the name of entertainment.
The naturalist Chris Packham last year wrote to Ant & Dec pleading to them to put an end to the “inhumane, embarrassing and destructive” use of animals in an “otherwise great” show. To view article click here
Most complaints are usually in vain as the producers constantly reply that the animals are well cared for on the show and they are not breaking any laws. With a spokesperson of the show saying…
“I’m A Celebrity complies with all regional and national laws concerning the use of live insects and arachnids in the eating trials, which has become a well established part of every series of the show over the past 15 years”
It Needs To Stop
This show has gone on for long enough, the animals used on this show are already misunderstood, despite the fact that these precise animals play an incredibly important role in our planets ecosystem. At Wild Science we teach children to respect, understand and conserve all animals but shows like this completely undermines all the hard work we put into our animal workshops.
Ant and Dec are widely respected throughout he UK, between them they have won 15 Best presenter awards at the NTA, 29 National television awards, 13 BAFA awards and 23 TV choice awards. They have a huge influence, the show alone brings in 10 million viewers annually. It’s time they used that influence for the good of the planet. “With great influence, comes great responsibility” I’m paraphrasing Spiderman slightly but I’m sure he would agree.
Please remember, it’s not just about the cute and cuddly that are important, all creatures of the world play a vital role in our planets eco-system and we should respect that.
What Can We Do?
There are people out there that do want to get this show shut down or at least make a big change. If you want to take part here is a petition to sign so you can help make a difference. Even if you enjoy the show, you must know that there some things that are terribly wrong and cruel. All animals are important and deserve to be treated with the same respect that a human would like to be treated with.