BBC Springwatch presenter and Welsh naturalist Iolo Williams and the RSPCA have criticised I’m A Celebrity for its use of animals
ITV’s I’m A Celebrity …Get Me Out Of Here! has defended its filming with bugs in Wales after reports that the police are investigating the show over concerns that it is using wildlife that is non-native to the UK.
A spokesman for the hit series on ITV, which had to be moved from Australia to the United Kingdom this year due to the COVID-19 restrictions preventing them from shooting abroad, has said that all insects used for the show’s bushtucker trials are “non-invasive species” and are only released into one contained area.
This comes after Doctors, scientists and the hospitality industry all say that Boris Johnson’s plans for a Christmas bubble is a mistake; for five days between the dates of the 23rd and the 27th of December, people throughout the UK will be able to mix with other families in a Christmas bubble.
According to The Guardian, North Wales Police has reportedly been investigating the show over its use of insects such as maggots, spiders, cockroaches, and worms, following complaints that the species could threaten the surrounding wildlife in the area around Gwrych Castle, in North Wales.
If the TV programme failed to get a licence for the release of the bugs, then there could be a potential breach of the Wildlife and Countryside Act the Guardian said.
Following the report, the RSPCA had reiterated its previous calls for I’m a Celebrity “to be a highly entertaining show without the use of animals” and encouraged viewers to contact Ofcom.”
The I’m A Celebrity spokesman said: “All of the insects used on I’m A Celebrity are non-invasive species.”
“They are only ever released in a contained area and collected immediately after filming.”
“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.”
This comes after the tough COVID-19 Tier 3 restrictions that had been imposed before the second national lockdown in England were not strong enough, according to the health secretary when speaking with MPs.
Welsh naturalist and BBC Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams has criticised the show for its use of the creatures.
In a tweet last week, he said: “As well as the moral issue of using wild animals for entertainment, surely there are huge ecological issues here also.”
Speaking to The Guardian, he said:
“I’m not sure which species they’re releasing, but I can tell you they’re not native.”
“We don’t have those cockroaches here in the UK and we certainly don’t have them in North Wales.”
Celebrities including Olympic athlete Sir Mo Farah, star of Coronation Street Beverley Callard, EastEnders actor Shane Richie and the TV presenter Vernon Kay are among the celebs competing in this unique series of the show, which has now been on the air for 18 years.