ITV ends ‘bushtucker trials’ that include eating live bugs

Live insects will not be eaten in this year’s I’m A Celebrity, in a “permanent” change to the reality TV show.

I’m A Celebrity has previously been criticised for using live bugs in its ‘bushtucker trials’.

Some tasks on the ITV show have included insects being eaten alive or dumped onto contestants.

The stars could still be covered in bugs during filming in Australia but any eaten will already be dead.

“Producers have taken a look at the trials and decided that no live critters would be eaten in the trials this year,” BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat has been told.

An ITV source said: “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.”

Witchetty grub
Insects like this witchetty grub have been eaten alive on previous series of I’m A Celebrity

This year’s line-up includes former Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle, ex-footballer and broadcaster Ian Wright and Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts.

‘Eating live invertebrates was abuse’

The move has been welcomed by wildlife presenter Chris Packham, who says he’s “very pleased” at ITV’s decision, but describes it as “a first step.”

“I hope this is the start of some significant change,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“What’s long concerned me about the programme is that is portrays animals in the wrong way.

“There was never any ambiguity that eating live invertebrates was abuse and also exploitation for entertainment.”

Chris also criticised the show for stereotyping animals like rats and snakes as “bad organism.”

He also said he thought ITV’s decision was part of a change in global thinking due to the current climate crisis.

“We’re going to have to make changes,” he added.

“That means you and I making changes in our lives, that means TV producers making changes in the way they make their programmes.”

I’m A Celebrity starts on ITV on Sunday evening.

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