ITV has been fined £1,670 for cruelty to animals over an episode of “I’m A Celebrity.. ” which saw contestants kill and eat a rat, a spokesman said on Monday.The broadcaster was taken to court by the RSPCA in Australia in December after two of the reality show contestants caught a rat and killed it in a bid to feed their starving team mates.
Celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo and soap star Stuart Manning were both charged with animal cruelty after the stunt in which the creature was served up with rice and beans.D’Acampo, who went on to win the show, said: “I saw one of these rats running around. I got a knife, I got its throat, I picked it up.”The RSPCA said that killing a rat as part of a TV stunt was “not acceptable”.
ITV said it had “apologised for the mistake” and paid a fine of $3,000 Australian — £1,668.”The production was unaware that killing a rat could be an offence, criminal or otherwise in New South Wales, and accepts that further enquiries should have been made,” the spokesman said.”This was an oversight and we have since thoroughly reviewed our procedures and are putting in place a comprehensive training programme to ensure that this does not happen in future series.”
Contestants who ate the dish apparently enjoyed it with Hollywood legend George Hamilton describing it as “actually quite nice.
“We all said it was like chicken but chickeny-beefy kind of stuff so it was actually very nice. If you kill it you should eat it,” the elderly actor said after leaving the show in December.