I’m a Celebrity. 17,000 complaints to UK RSPCA. Why?

The twenty-second series of I’m a Celebrity, of which I haven’t watched twenty-one, has finally ended, with the usual fanfare. It is a show which TV critics believe unites the country in a national conversation and arouses anger over the use of animals. But does anyone really care?

The twenty-second series of I’m a Celebrity, of which I haven’t watched twenty- one, has finally ended, with the usual fanfare. It is a show which TV critics believe unites the country in a national conversation and in some quarters arouses anger over the use of animals. But for the vast majority of viewers it is eagerly awaited and watched. So is it really worth complaining about every year.

This year the number of complaints to the UK RSPCA about the the use of animals increased. But as usual the producers brushed off any complaints because they know the viewers like it just the way it is and they can survive without those that don’t. It makes huge revenue for the ITV so there is no chance of them ever changing the format. People watch it because they like to see the contestants squirm and they like to squirm with them.

If dogs or cats were used on the show.

The animals involved are mostly rats, fish, reptiles and insects which are viewed by many as not “proper animals.” They are not the kind that viewers can empathise with and it is also difficult for people to grasp the notion that such lowly creatures may feel pain or distress, particularly when many cultures eat them anyway.

To most people they are just pests, creepie crawlies, bugs and slimy dangerous reptiles, which we stamp on, spray toxic chemicals on and randomly kill all the time. They are plentiful and not endangered and are mainly of nuisance value to us, so it is difficult to convince anyone to care. Now if dogs or cats were used on the show it would be a different matter. We have, and unfortunately always will have, this rather speciesist and hypocritical attitude to the status of animals and their welfare.

I'm a Celebrity

The RSPCA says:

Every year, we are faced with serious concerns about the use of animals, including snakes, insects and other live creatures during the filming of the show. Since ‘I’m a Celebrity’ was first aired, animals have been dropped, thrown, handled roughly, crushed, chased, overcrowded, scared by contestants and prevented from escaping from stressful experiences.

RSPCA

The RSPCA has had 22-years to do something about the show without success which is probably proof that it is an impossible task. This is because they do not have the weight of public opinion supporting them. In reality clogging up their telephone lines and workforce is a fruitless task when their time could be better spent dealing urgent cruelty calls in the UK. They do have a campaign at the moment whereby you can email ITV for all the good that will do. Far better perhaps to campaign and complain to the Australian RSPCA and State officials to stop them hosting the show, but of course they have their own version and seem little interested.

No mention of I’m a Celebrity.

There is no mention on the RSPCA NSW website about the show at all and as the show organisers point out the Society has an open invitation to attend and watch filming whenever they want. It would appear they cannot do anything either or be bothered.

Also, did I miss all the demonstrations by environmental and animal rights supporters outside the ITV headquarters in Holborn about the show, or perhaps there weren’t any. Activists seem to be too busy now blocking the M25 to worry about a few bugs, rats and snakes or perhaps too busy watching Matt Hancock eating and wrestling the creatures. Ironically there were far more complaints about him appearing in the show than concern for the animals.

Using animals for our entertainment goes back to the Romans fighting lions in the colosseum and beyond and the attitudes of the general populace haven’t changed in the interim. Most viewers do not really care or prefer to ignore the plight of animals in these circumstances, looking down of those who do as being petty and spoil sports. The show will only end or change when viewers get bored with it or contestants refuse to take part, neither of which seems anytime soon. But yes it is still worth complaining about.

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Turning police dogs into robodogs.

There is much excitement in U.K police forces about the new innovation of turning their police dogs into what some sections of the the media have dubbed “Robodogs.” if it is not already enough to have them risking injury and death in their duties of tracking villains, chasing and restraining them, sniffing bank notes, drugs and firearms and spending a lot of their lives crammed into the back of police cars, they now have to wear a one kilo helmet as well as body armour.

According to the police, “The camera is exactly what we have been looking for to move our firearms support capabilities forward. The camera is simple to use, fits in perfectly with our IT systems and is cost-effective.

“Dogs do not have an issue wearing them”

Apparently “the camera is light, comfortable and mounts easily to the dog’s head weighing 1kg and has been designed to be comfortable for the dog to wear. The dogs really haven’t had an issue getting used to it.” But if dogs could talk they might not entirely agree with the description or of being viewed as a mobile four-legged tripod to mount the thing on. It is hardly natural. Unfortunately I can visualise that it will not be long before these camera helmets will be available to everyone and we will see dogs hurtling around parks and the countryside taking videos for vloggers.

How long will it be before police dogs have guns strapped to them.

The stated hope is that these helmets will “transform firearms situations” and this means that the dogs will be sent in first to film the situation before sending in a human officer, but will be no help if the dog is attacked. The dogs will still face the same risks as when they are presently sent in to tackle armed offenders, but at least we will have video of it for the tv documentaries. One wonders how long it will be before remote guns are strapped to them.

They will join the ranks of their comrades in the military in having to endure protective clothing and perform dangerous duties to save their human comrades but hopefully not suffering the same horrific injuries like Kuno, the British military dog.

Robot dog.
Could these robot dogs perhaps replace them one day?

Of course, we already have robodogs in the form of Robot Dogs but these are sill under training, less mobile and probably out of the police’s price range, but who knows they might replace police and military dogs in the future, but only if they can be taught/programmed to smell.

Although loved by their handlers and riders police dogs and horses have always been treated as pieces of police equipment or property. After much pressure over the years it has been an offence since 2019 to injure a police animal under Finn’s law, but as we know human officers are attacked on a daily basis so what hope for the dogs and horses.  It still raises the question of whether it is ethically and morally fair to intentionally put animals in harm’s way in the first place?  Would it not be better to restrict them to ceremonial use or purely as “search” and “sniffer” dogs who appear to have a fun time at work.

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