Charity calls to axe 'Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls' after 'grotesque' pig death

Bear Grylls Celebrity Island contestants (Credit: Channel 4)
Bear Grylls Celebrity Island contestants (Credit: Channel 4)

An animal welfare charity has called for Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls to be axed, after a pig choked itself to death on the survival programme.

Humane Society International UK slated the Channel 4 series, which broadcast the episode last night.

After having caught the pig – which was then given the name Colin – on the island, the marooned contestants tethered it while they debated whether or not to kill it for food.

The Only Way Is Essex star Pete Wicks fought to spare it, a move that the charity called ‘commendable and beautiful’, but while they discussed the matter, the pig strangled itself in a bid to escape.

Colin the pig (Credit: Channel 4)
Colin the pig (Credit: Channel 4)

“It’s time for Channel 4 to pull the plug on programmes like Celebrity Island because it really is grotesque for animals to be made to suffer and die for a TV show,” the HSI said in a statement.

“Colin the pig was most likely placed on the island to be killed for food, a fate that he escaped thanks to Pete Wicks’ intervention, but nonetheless Colin tragically ended up dying by strangulation anyway in circumstances that seem highly dubious and certainly would have been painful and frightening for Colin.”

It follows similar sentiments from PETA, who also condemned the show ahead of its broadcast.

PETA accused Grylls of ‘torturing living beings to boost ratings’, and added in a statement: “It’s time to move beyond this worn-out trope of showing crude dominance over nature – and we urge producers to scrap the use of animals in these stupid TV stunts and replace them with challenges that don’t involve bullying or purposely putting animals in harm’s way.”

The 2016 series of the show fell foul of PETA too, after contestant Ollie Locke, from Made In Chelsea, stabbed a crocodile through the head.

But despite Wicks’ protestations about keeping the pig alive, viewers quickly leapt on his ‘hypocrisy’, as earlier in the show he’d shown no remorse about spearing a string ray in the sea to cook on the fire.

Channel 4 stood by its broadcast, saying in a statement issued last week: “The celebrities were greatly affected by what happened and footage will be shown in the programme next Sunday in order to give a faithful account of their time on the island.”

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