Celebs not out of here yet

BRITISH television channel ITV has apologised for the death of a rat during filming of I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here in Murwillumbah bushland.

The apology has not been enough to call off New South Wales RSPCA investigations into the incident, which has already resulted in charges against the two stars involved.

The RSPCA said yesterday investigations were continuing into the killing even after celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo and soap star Stuart Manning had been charged with animal cruelty offences.

A spokesman for ITV has said the company had no idea killing a rat was an offence, and apologised.

“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,” the spokesman said on Monday.

“Having sought health and safety advice, the go-ahead was given purely on this basis, when it became clear that there would not be any harmful effects of eating a properly prepared and cooked rat.”

“The production was unaware that killing a rat could be an offence, criminal or otherwise in NSW, and accepts that further inquiries should have been made – this was an oversight.

“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.”

D’Acampo, 33, and Manning, 30, have been charged for alleged animal cruelty after they killed and ate a rat during a jungle endurance test at the weekend.

D’Acampo, a celebrity chef who won the contest, allegedly killed the rat with a kitchen knife, skinned it, then prepared the meat in a risotto for fellow contestants, who had been surviving on a meagre diet of rice and beans.

“It was the best recipe I ever did,” he said afterwards.

RSPCA NSW alleges that the act of killing the rat was not performed humanely, or in a manner which inflicted no unnecessary distress or suffering.

The pair have been ordered to appear at the Murwillumbah Local Court on February 3.

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