I’m A Celeb is back for its 19th season and with Ant and Dec back together again Down Under and a new crop of celebrity campmates being thrown into terrifying trials and the reality of jungle life, we couldn’t be happier. However, there’s bad news for any viewers hoping to see this year’s campmates chowing down on live bugs…
In previous years, trials have often involved celebs being forced to eat wriggling critters whilst they’re still alive – something animal rights advocates have slammed as unnecessarily cruel. This year, I’m A Celeb producers have agreed that they will no longer serve celebs live animals to eat.
One ITV source said: ‘Producers have taken a look at the Trials and decided that no live critters would be eaten in the Trials this year. They have been planning this for some time and actually last year beach worms were the only critters eaten live but this time around they've decided to implement the change fully and permanently.’
However, it seems that challenges which involve celebs holding a live critter in their mouth for a set period of time – like Harry Redknapp did with witchetty grubs last year – will still be allowed. And we’re sure to see plenty of other Bushtucker Trials where our celebs will face live critters – but the ones on their plates will all be dead in advance.
BBC presenter Chris Packham has led a high-profile charge against the show’s purported cruelty to animals for many years, calling on producers to ban all trials involving animals and insects, which he says are ‘undermining a respect for life’ and has compared to entertainment from the Middle Ages.