Police give ‘advice’ to I’m A Celebrity over use of non-native insects

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Police give ‘advice’ to I’m A Celebrity over use of non-native insects
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Police have given “suitable advice” to the makers of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! following criticism of its use of non-native insects during filming.

A North Wales Police spokesman said producers had been spoken to about their “set management and biosecurity”.

The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the ITV programme, which is being filmed in Wales rather than its usual location in Australia due to coronavirus, was under investigation by the force over the potential release of insects into the wild.

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!
Gwrych Castle (Jacob King/PA)

A range of insects have been used during the programme’s notoriously unpleasant trials which have seen large quantities of bugs dumped onto the celebrities as they take part in challenges.

The police statement said: “North Wales Police and Natural Resources Wales have received information regarding the potential release of non-native species into ‘non studio’ areas, and we have given suitable advice to the production team regarding their set management and biosecurity.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford waded into the row.

“We worked carefully with the production company to make sure that all the rules are being observed,” he said.

“If there have been some infringement then it’s right that they are investigated.

“We would be concerned about non-native species being released.”

Coronavirus – Wed Oct 14, 2020
Mark Drakeford (Brian Lawless/PA)

He said that “viewers will have seen the stories from Denmark recently about mink and coronavirus crossing species”.

He added: “We wouldn’t want to see non-native species being released here in Wales because of the risks that that could pose to the health of other wildlife but potentially, as in the Danish situation, the risk to human health as well.”

But he said the programme “has brought the eyes of people outside Wales to Wales”.

A spokesman for I’m A Celebrity defended its use of bugs on Tuesday.

“All of the insects used on I’m A Celebrity are non-invasive species,” he said.

“They are only ever released in a contained area and collected immediately after filming.

“The bugs are UK-bred and are commercially purchased in the UK for birds and exotic animal feed for pets and zookeepers in normal circumstances.

“Our insects have been donated to local wildlife sanctuaries, trusts and zoos for their exotic animal and bird feed after filming.”

I’m A Celebrity� Get Me Out Of Here!
Sir Mo Farah is taking part this year (ITV)

Welsh naturalist and BBC Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams previously raised questions over the programme’s use of the creatures.

Last week he tweeted: “As well as the moral issue of using wild animals for entertainment, surely there are huge ecological issues here also.”

Celebrities including athlete Sir Mo Farah, TV presenter Vernon Kay and journalist Victoria Derbyshire are among the famous faces taking part in this series of the programme.

Filming is taking place at Gwrych Castle near Abergele, north Wales.

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