ITV fined €1,800 for animal cruelty over I'm a Celebrity rat stunt
ITV has been fined £1,660 (€1,890) for animal cruelty over an I'm a Celebrity Get Me Of Here stunt which saw to contestants kill and eat a rat.
The stunt was performed by last year's winner television chef Gino D'Acampo and Hollyoaks actor Stuart Manning after they were sent into ''exile'' for part of the series.
They were given meagre rations of rice and beans, so they caught, killed and cooked a rat to give them "more protein".
D'Acampo, 33, said in the show's video diary room the Bush Telegraph: ''I saw one of these rats running around. I got a knife, I got its throat, I picked it up.''
A court in Sydney heard that the rat was initially stabbed with a knife but took a minute and a half to die and suffered unnecessary pain in the process.
D'Acampo and Manning were originally charged with animal cruelty themselves.
But the charges were dropped after ITV admitted that production staff came them permission to take the rat's life.
The court heard that the producers only considered whether eating the animal would make them ill, rather than whether they were breaking any laws.
The company was fined $3000, around €2200, and ordered to pay $2,500 (£1,820) in costs.
An ITV spokesman said it had apologised for the mistake which led to the incident.
"The production was unaware that killing a rat could be an offence, criminal or otherwise, in New South Wales, and accepts that further enquiries should have been made," he said.
"This was an oversight, and we have since thoroughly reviewed our procedures, and are putting in place a comprehensive training programme to ensure that this does not happen in future series."