Wildlife enthusiast Chris Packham slams 'I'm A Celebrity' over 'medieval' use of creatures

EXCLUSIVE: Chris Packham hits back at critics and insists he is not 'an extremist'
Chris Packham said it's 'medieval' to use creatures. (PA)

Chris Packham has hit out at I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! for using creatures in its challenges, saying it's "medieval".

The naturalist and TV presenter, 61, has often criticised the ITV contest's use of critters in its Bushtucker trials and has made it clear he believes it needs to come to an end.

He's now said the ITV show - which frequently sees celebrities showered with insects, lying in confined spaces with them and eating stomach-churning dishes like fish eyes and sheep brains - could have been restructured on its return to Australia from Wales following the coronavirus pandemic.

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He told the Daily Star: "Keep it entertaining, keep the viewers there – I’m sure the people at ITV have every capacity to do that – they’re the kings of light entertainment.

“But you don’t need to abuse animals – it’s medieval."

Matt Hancock and Seann Walsh after a trial. (ITV/Shutterstock)
Matt Hancock and Seann Walsh after a trial. (ITV/Shutterstock)

The Autumnwatch star went on: "They stereotype them – that’s not helpful when I’m spending a good proportion of my time trying to get people to develop a deep affinity for the natural world so they will help me look after it.”

Packham said that animals being used for entertainment is "so old school, it’s embarrassing".

The organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has launched a campaign calling on the show to make changes.

It says on its website: "Unlike the celebrity contestants, who want to be on the show, animals are not there by choice.

Programme Name: Winterwatch 2022 - TX: n/a - Episode: Winterwatch 2022 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Chris Packham - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jo Charlesworth
Chris Packham said animals being used for entertainment was 'so old school, it’s embarrassing'. (BBC)

"They endure stress, are confined to small and unfamiliar spaces, and, in many cases, lose their lives for the sake of a few cheap laughs."

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Yahoo has contacted ITV for comment.

Watch: Chris Packham: We've all got to do our part to protect wildlife