There is that view that just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you have to do it. Especially when it concerns killing wildlife for ‘entertainment’ on TV as Channel 4 has this week discovered.
“Caimans are shy animals, and this one was a baby. They’re not a threat to humans, so taking a life for the shock value is shameful and cowardly and shows that the only real predators on this programme are the miserable celebrities and producers.” – Elisa Allen, Director PETA UK, speaking to The Sun newspaper
The show, Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls, is at the centre of a row after scenes showed a caiman crocodile being killed by a host of well known faces from the entertainment world. The programme has been slammed by animal rights charity PETA following the broadcast on Channel 4 yesterday evening.
The group of personalities had been surviving on an uninhabited Pacific island as part of the shows format, which saw them fending for themselves. Having become hungry, and having not eaten properly for nine days the famous faces decided lunch would come in the form of the croc.
The scenes of its execution didn’t sit well with social media users, and Ofcom has received a number of complaints about the episode. The show has also been in recent weeks under fire for the amount of swearing in the production.
The Sun newspaper reported on last nights episode that ‘In brutal scenes, Olympian Iwan Roberts, 43, and former Coronation Street actor Ryan Thomas, 33, managed to wrestle the croc and plunge a knife into it after receiving training on how to kill it properly.’
In 2009 ITV show I’m A Celebrity was forced to apologise after a rat was killed and cooked during production of the show in an Australian forest. Chef Gino D’Acampo and actor Stuart Manning were noted to have cooked the rodent to eat. At the time the broadcaster said it would ‘tighten up its procedures’ however Australian police decided against prosecuting ITV producers over animal cruelty although it was noted it wasn’t acceptable.
Chief Inspector David Oshannessy, from the RSPCA in New South Wales, said at the time of the ITV issue, that in Australia there is a “code of practice” which dictates how animals can be used in theatrical productions, TV and films. The code is clear that the killing of any animal for a performance is not acceptable in that particular country, unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be a universally accepted practice.
“An important part of the series is to find out if the celebrities are capable of surviving alone and able to find sources of food, including hunting and killing for meat; a vital part of their survival as it is a source of valuable calories and protein. The celebrities were trained in the humane capture and dispatch of live animals as part of their survival training and the adult caiman was killed humanely.” – Channel 4 statement