A group of Tory peers have lashed out at the current series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! over the use of “non-native” insects in certain challenges.
The group has said the use of non-native bugs in Wales, where this season’s show is being filmed, was “irresponsible” and “stupid”.
The popular TV show was forced to relocate from its regular recording location in a remote part of Australia to a castle in Wales due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Blasting ITV’s flagship programme, Tory Lord Patrick Cormack said that “idiots bringing in bugs to bite people who are camping in Wales” seemed a “ridiculous thing to do” before he suggested the show should be rebranded as “I’m An Idiot… Get Me Out Of Here!”
Malcolm Sinclair, the Earl of Caithness, said it was “crassly stupid” for a television programme to release bugs and insects into the environment.
A I’m A Celebrity spokesperson insisted the insects were “non-invasive species” that were released in a “contained area” and were collected “immediately after filming”.
They added: “The bugs are UK-bred and are commercially purchased in the UK for birds and exotic animal feed for pets and zoo keepers in normal circumstances.
“Our insects have been donated to local wildlife sanctuaries, trusts and zoos for their exotic animal and bird feed after filming.”
I’m A Celebrity has previously come under fire from animal rights activists due to the nature of some of its trials, with the show making the decision to axe the eating of living creatures ahead of last year’s series.
ITV has said the programme uses “exemplary production practices” that “complies with animal welfare law concerning the use of animals”.
“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,” they added.