Chris Packham has expressed his strong disapproval of the treatment of animals on the reality show I’m a Celebrity, comparing it to the cruel and inhumane practice of dog fighting. He shared his thoughts with Ant and Dec, who host the show.
Chris Packham has penned a letter addressed to Ant and Dec, alleging that I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! is taking advantage of animals.
In the letter posted on X (previously known as Twitter), he declares that he has previously attempted to communicate with the hosts of the reality show regarding animal welfare regulations. However, his previous attempts, which were polite, reasonable, and constructive, were disregarded. As a result, he plans to be more direct and honest this time around.
“I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! remains a grotesque blot on the reputations of both yourselves and ITV,” wrote Packham. “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… part of the media which doesn’t appear to give a shit.”
Packham asserts that his correspondence, which has garnered 1.3 million views on X, is a reflection of his own beliefs rather than his position as the president of the RSPCA. However, he notes that the organization received 17,000 grievances last year regarding the treatment of animals on the show. He expresses that both himself and several RSPCA supporters are fed up with what they see as a lack of concern for animal well-being and the impact it has on their sentiments.
Packham believes that I’m a Celebrity … goes against the important value of valuing all life, which is necessary in order to motivate individuals to address the urgent issue of climate change.
“It’s truly heartbreaking that this is done for entertainment, with no regard for the consequences. 28% of the world’s species under monitoring are in danger of extinction. Is that something to be laughed at?”
The host of wildlife programs also stated that the ratings indicate a possible need for a different presentation style, as the viewership for I’m a Celebrity… dropped from a high of 10 million in November 2022 to a peak of 7.8 million this year.
“Observe the state of the world, pay attention to the voices of worry, and take note of the warning signs. The days of circuses, dancing bears, and animal fighting are long gone. These cruel practices are now only used by psychopathic criminals. In the UK, there are no performing dolphins or chimpanzees forced to entertain for tea time. However, the exploitation of wildlife for unnecessary entertainment on your program continues to harm the UK’s reputation as a ‘nation of animal lovers’.”
Packham proposes that instead of exploiting animals for the sake of entertainment, the reality show should contribute a portion of its earnings to organizations dedicated to conservation efforts. Furthermore, he suggests that Ant and Dec host a show focused on this issue and use his binoculars for filming purposes.
A representative from the show I’m a Celebrity… stated that they follow all regulations regarding the use of animals and have a comprehensive environmental strategy in place. They added that the well-being and safety of all participants is their top concern, and for any challenges involving animals, they have trained and knowledgeable animal handlers present at all times.
“We inform the RSPCA NSW of all of our activities on the show and they have an open invitation to attend the site at any time. We cannot stress enough that we have rigorous protocols in place to ensure that animals are handled safely at all times, before, during and after any filming has taken place, in compliance with all regional and national laws.”