Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
British Commercial Broadcaster ITV(1) killing rat on reality tv show

Sydney, Australia

December 6, 2009  
Gino D'Acampo(2) killing rat on reality tv show

Sydney, Australia

December 6, 2009  
Stuart Manning(2) killing rat on reality tv show

Sydney, Australia

December 6, 2009  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date
    1 rat

(1) Convicted

(2) charges dropped

 

Two stars of ‘I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here’ TV show have been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly killing and cooking a rat to eat during filming. Chef Gino D’Acampo, who won the viewer-feedback contest series, and actor Stuart Manning were charged after animal welfare activists lodged a complaint about a segment for the program, which was filmed in Australia, the activists and British media reported.

New South Wales state police said two men were charged with animal cruelty for acts in connection to the program but did not give names or other details. They have been asked to appear in court on February 3.

The maximum penalty is 3 years in jail.  The concern is this was done purely for the cameras,” David O’Shannessy from the New South Wales RSPCA stated. He said producers were normally required to have animal welfare officers on the set when animals were used during filming, but in this case it did not take place. ‘I’m a Celebrity’ strands C-list celebrities in Australian outback, subjects them to a series of icky trials involving spiders and snakes, and allows the public to vote them off the show one by one.

Update 2/8/10:  British commercial broadcaster ITV was fined by an Australian court after it pleaded guilty to animal cruelty over the televised death of a rat, media reports said.

Two contestants in the reality television show "I'm a Celebrity ...Get Me Out of Here!" killed and cooked a rat during filming in Australia last year.

The Sydney court heard a complaint by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) that the rodent took 90 seconds to die after being stabbed with a knife.

Chef Gino D'Acampo and actor Stuart Manning were originally charged with the offence, but the charge was switched to ITV after it admitted responsibility.

ITV was fined 3,000 Australian dollars ($2,580) and ordered to pay court costs of 2,500 Australian dollars.

"The production was unaware that killing a rat could be an offense, criminal or otherwise, in New South Wales and accepts that further inquiries should have been made," an ITV spokesman was quoted as saying.

When RSPCA leveled the initial complaint, its spokesman David O'Shannesy said the objection was that the rat had been killed for entertainment value.

"The killing of a rat for a performance is not acceptable," he said at the time. "The concern is, this was done purely for the cameras."

Reference:

The Herald Sun The BBC