Shropshire Star

Chris Packham criticises I’m A Celebrity’s ‘grotesque’ treatment of animals

In a letter, he claimed he had previously written to Ant and Dec but they had not replied.

Chris Packham

TV presenter Chris Packham has criticised I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! for the “anachronistic embarrassment” of its use of animals.

The Springwatch host, 62, shared a letter he wrote to hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly in which he called for “no more abuse of animals for entertainment” on the ITV reality show.

In the letter posted to X on Monday, Packham claimed he had previously written to the presenting duo but they had not replied.

He wrote: “My letters were polite, reasonable and constructive. This time I’ll be a little more frank and forthright.

“I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here remains a grotesque blot on the reputations of both yourselves and ITV.

“Its continued exploitation of animals for entertainment is an anachronistic embarrassment and betrays a dangerous disconnect between a world increasingly concerned with an environmental crisis, and a reckless and marginalised part of the media which doesn’t appear to give a shit.”

The reality show is famous for its trials featuring bugs, snakes and spiders.

Packham clarified that he was writing in his own capacity and not as the president of the RSPCA, but claimed the charity received 17,000 complaints about the programme’s “wilful abuse of animals and the negative stereotypes”.

He added: “You may see little to no connection between the global extermination event that humans are precipitating and IACGMOOH but its all about attitudes and education.

“Without a fundamental respect for life, all life, it is difficult for those of us who care to bring enough people on board to initiate essential action to protect and actively restore the worlds wildlife.

“I spend my life trying to engender that respect, your programme recklessly countermands that, and what’s absolutely pitiful, is that is does it for laughs. Just for entertainment.”

He called on McPartlin and Donnelly to announce there will be “no more abuse of animals for entertainment” from 2024 on the show, but an added educational component could “celebrate wildlife and its conservation”.

Packham also requested a percentage of the programme’s profits to be donated to “proactive practical conservation” and for the pair to present a programme highlighting this work.

McPartlin and Donnelly are currently hosting the 23rd series of the reality show in Australia.

Representatives for ITV and McPartlin and Donnelly have been contacted for comment.

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