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ITV fined A$3000 for cruelty to rat on "I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A spokesperson stated on Monday that UK television company ITV have been fined A$3000 (about US$2591 or £1663) for cruelty to animals in an incident on programme "I'm a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!", where two celebrities killed and ate a rat.

The incident involved actor Stuart Manning and television chef Gino D'Acampo, who went on to win the ninth series of the programme, which was broadcast in 2009. Inside the jungle, having been reduced to rations of beans and rice, the two celebrities caught a rat before killing it and then cooking it, to give the beans and rice "more protein", before eating the rat, which contestant and actor George Hamilton described as "actually quite nice". Inside the programme's video diary room, at the time of the recording of it, Gino D'Acampo said: "I saw one of these rats running around. I got a knife, I got its throat, I picked it up."

RSPCA Australia had stated that performing an act like this on television was "not acceptable". Initially, Manning and D'Acampo were charged for animal cruelty. However, their charges were dropped when ITV made the confession that production staff had allowed the celebrities to carry out the act of killing the rat. After a court trial in Sydney, Australia, ITV got a fine of A$3000. The company also had to pay costs of A$2500 (US$2192 or £1396).

An ITV spokesperson said that "ITV has apologised for the mistake which led to this incident. The production was unaware that killing a rat could be an offence, criminal or otherwise in New South Wales, and accepts that further inquiries should have been made. This was an oversight and we have since thoroughly reviewed our procedures and are putting in place a comprehensive training programme to ensure that this does not happen in future series."

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