I’m A Celebrity under pressure to ban live animals in trials after 11,000 complain to Ofcom

I'M A Celebrity has been hammered with more than 11,000 Ofcom complaints over its use of live animals in trials.

The staggering number of objections have come after the show was moved from Australia to the UK this series.

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The RSPCA told The Sun 10,697 people had taken part in a campaign that fires off an email to the TV watchdog complaining about the use of animals in the programme.

ITV bosses have found themselves under pressure over critters including cockroaches, rats, mealworms and snakes being used "as a commodity for entertainment".

Ofcom has powers to ban animals from being used on the show and dish out fines.

The series has seen Jordan North struggling with snakes, AJ Pritchard being bombarded with mealworms and crickets and Shane Richie being crawled over by naked rats.

Victoria Derbyshire also had to contend with a wolf, while all the stars have been dumped with thousands of cockroaches, scorpions and spiders.

The RSPCA said: "Since I'm A Celebrity was first aired animals have been dropped, thrown, handled roughly, crushed, chased, overcrowded, scared by contestants and prevented from escaping from stressful experiences.

"Sadly, there have also been incidents where animals have been killed for no other purpose than entertainment.

"Only last year Wales banned the use of wild animals for entertainment in circuses, so surely we can move on from using any animal purely for our fun?"

A spokesperson for ITV told The Sun: "I'm A Celebrity complies with animal welfare law concerning the use of animals."

A source on the show added: "The operator that we use for the programme has extensive experience in the care of animals for the film and television industry.

"They have a Five Star Animal Welfare Licence for this type of work.  They also hold an Animal Performers Licence which is applicable in Wales.

"Our experienced animal handlers look after the animals during filming and many of them belong to the animal handlers.

"They are not wild and are bred as pets and therefore domesticated and used to human interaction. 

"Insects like crickets, cockroaches and morio worms are purposely bred in the UK, in normal circumstances for animal feed.

"After filming, these are donated to local wildlife centres and sanctuaries after filming.

"We have also put measures in place to look after our invertebrates which includes the installation of grates to allow easy collection."

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