LONDON — U.K. terrestrial giant ITV has paid the price after contestants on the local version of “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” killed and ate a rat — A$3,000 ($2,600) rat to be exact.
The fine for animal cruelty followed an incident in December in the reality skein in which Italian celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo, the show’s eventual winner, and Brit actor Stuart Manning killed the rodent and ate it as a “rat kebab” during a jungle challenge.
David Oshannessy, chief inspector at animal protection org RSPCA, said ITV was fined $2,600 plus $2,233 in costs.
He said: “It’s a reasonable result. It reflects the fact that all animals are protected by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The animal was killed for a TV show; that’s not appropriate. The raw footage indicates that, from the first attempt, it took about 90 seconds before it actually died.
“The legislation says that an animal can be killed for human consumption provided it does not cause unnecessary suffering. Had it been killed and it was over and done with, we might not be having this conversation.”
A spokesman for the web said: “ITV has apologized for the mistake which led to this incident. The production was unaware that killing a rat could be an offense.