TV has apologised after a rat was killed and cooked during this year's I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!
It also said it would tighten up its procedures. The producers will not face charges over alleged animal cruelty on the show, Australian police have said. However charges are being brought against the winner, chef Gino D'Acampo and contestant Stuart
Manning after they cooked a rat to eat. The pair have been ordered to appear in court on 3 February 2010.
The RSPCA in New South Wales said it was not acceptable an animal had been killed as part of a performance.
The production was asked if a rat could be caught and eaten by the celebrities in exile camp to supplement the basic rations they had been provided with for their evening meal, said a spokesman for ITV. Having sought health and safety advice,
the go-ahead was given purely on this basis... the production was unaware that killing a rat could be an offence.
He added that ITV accepted that further inquiries should have been made. ITV apologises for this error, and to the celebrities concerned, and will put in place procedures for next year's series to ensure that this cannot happen again.
During the series, the contestants were divided into two groups, one of which was in exile with meagre rations. D'Acampo decided to kill and eat the rat to add meat to the group's meal. He told the show's video diary room, the Bush Telegraph: It's not done by choice but it's done because we need it. We need some kind of protein, we need some kind of flavour. I saw one of these rats running around. I got a knife, I got its throat, I picked it up.
Fellow contestant George Hamilton spoke out in defence of D'Acampo, telling the Daily Mirror that ITV producers had given them permission to eat the rodent.
The actor said: I went into the Bush Telegraph and said, 'May we eat a rat?' They were a bit shocked, thought about it and then said we could. It was a very good dinner.
ITV has been fined 3,000 Australian dollars (£1,672) after contestants on its show, I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! , killed and ate a rat.
The fine, for animal cruelty, was issued by the RSPCA in Australia, where the show was filmed last year.
The animal was killed for a TV show, that's not appropriate, said RSPCA chief inspector David Oshannessy.
A spokesman for ITV said: ITV has apologised for the mistake which led to this incident. He continued: 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.