PETA has renewed its criticism of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here ahead of the show’s latest series, this time attacking the use of a Shetland pony in a new ITV trailer.
The complaint comes after host Ant McPartlin shared behind-the-scenes footage of himself riding on the back of the small pony while filming an advert for the new series, with PETA condemning the use of the animal for ‘cheap laughs’.
‘Is there anything I’m A Celebrity wouldn’t do in a desperate attempt to get cheap laughs at the expense of animals’ welfare?’ the charity said in a statement. ‘This stunt caused a Shetland pony to struggle and risk acute back pain and even lameness.’
PETA’s director Elisa Allen told MailOnline, ‘PETA urges the show’s producers to find more creative and humane ways of introducing its absurd antics and to leave animals in peace.’
In the footage shared on the hosting duo’s Instagram, the presenter can be seen sitting on the pony dressed as a knight, encouraging it to dance and feeding it treats, while co-host Dec sits atop a regular-sized horse. In the finished advert, the gag sees the duo realise they’ve ‘got the wrong horses’ – referencing a long-running series joke about Dec’s height.
While many of the show’s fans took to Instagram to celebrate the return of the series, plenty of fans commented to share their disapproval of the Shetland pony stunt, with many expressing concern about its treatment.
‘That’s not cool guys…that pony should only carry the weight of a small child on its back, not a full grown man in armour,’ one person wrote.
‘Not at all funny this is cruel!’ another person commented, with a third writing ‘Sorry, love you two usually but that’s not right.’
PETA has been a longstanding critic of I’m A Celebrity over the show’s use of animals in its bushtucker trials, in which contestants would frequently be asked to eat live animals. Following a campaign by animal rights campaigners in 2019 ITV said the show would no longer include live insects in its eating trials.
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