“I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here” has been in the news even before its telecast on Australian television. The latest rebuff is by Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH) which has made sure that the show is still in the news. Another group, For the Love of Wildlife, has also called out the makers of the show for including leopard cubs in one of the episodes.
CACH has rejected the donations it has received from Network Ten’s “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here.” Dean Geyer of the “Neighbours” fame had selected CACH as his charity of choice. Chris Mercer and Linda Park, the directors of CACH, revealed that they rejected the donations because the series sends out a message that cub petting is okay. In reality, it is not.
“We were very happy to hear that Dean Geyer selected CACH has his charity of choice but we cannot endorse a program that sends out a wrong message to the public – that cub petting is OK,” the directors said in a statement.
The cub the organisation is referring to is a 5-week-old white lion cub that was abandoned by its mother. Host Dr. Chris Brown revealed that the other cubs had died too and white lions are an endangered species. As a result, the lion cub was made a part of a breeding program. Dr. Brown elaborated that the cub was not a part of the canned hunting industry, according to Daily Mail.
Mercer and Park explained in their statement that Network Ten was duped. “It would seem that Network TEN has been duped by the same story told to thousands of gullible tourists and volunteers,” they said. “Lion farmers/captive lion breeders are astute to hide the ultimate fate of their alternative livestock – canned hunting. This is because cub petting/lion walks, etc. are such a profitable spin-off from the main purpose: that of rearing lions to huntable size,” they added.
The group For the Love of Wildlife is unhappy too over the inclusion of three leopard cubs in addition to the white lion cub on the show. According to TV Tonight, Founder Donalea Patman has accused Network Ten of skipping on research and ignoring conservation advice.
“They were well informed and yet chose to then let Shane Warne and Val Lehman engage YET again with three very young leopard cubs, handling, petting and cuddling them in a defiant show of indulgence and support of the petting/canned hunting industry,” said Patman.
While Network Ten has denied violating any rules and condemned canned hunting of animals, Dean Geyer is yet to make a statement.