Wildlife TV presenter and conservationist Chris Packham has criticised ITV's I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! for the “wilful abuse of animals” on the show.

Packham, who is the host of Springwatch on BBC, wrote a letter to I'm a Celebrity presenters Ant and Dec which he shared on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday (November 27). 

In the letter, he called for “no more abuse of animals for entertainment” on the ITV reality show and also revealed he had written to Ant and Dec before but had not received a reply. 

The reality show is famous for its Bushtucker trials featuring bugs, snakes, spiders and even crocodiles.

BBC presenter Chris Packham writes letter to Ant and Dec criticising the use of animals on ITV's I'm a Celebrity

In the letter Packham posted to X on Monday he said: "I have written to you both before but you have never replied so I thought I'd write again. 

“My letters were polite, reasonable and constructive. This time I’ll be a little more frank and forthright.

“'I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' remains a grotesque blot on the reputations of both yourselves and ITV.

“Its continued exploitation of animals for entertainment is an anachronistic embarrassment and betrays a dangerous disconnect between a world increasingly concerned with an environmental crisis, and a reckless and marginalised part of the media which doesn’t appear to give a s***.

"I write in my own capacity, not as the President of the RSPCA, but I can tell you that last year the charity received 17000 complaints about your wilful abuse of animals and the reinforcement of negative stereotypes. 

"I and all those people, many of whom I have no doubt will be fans of yours and of the work you have done and do, are sick of your percieved disgrgard for animal welfare and the way we feel about it."

Packham continued: “You may see little to no connection between the global extermination event that humans are precipitating and IACGMOOH but its all about attitudes and education.

“Without a fundamental respect for life, all life, it is difficult for those of us who care to bring enough people on board to initiate essential action to protect and actively restore the worlds wildlife.

“I spend my life trying to engender that respect, your programme recklessly countermands that, and what’s absolutely pitiful, is that is does it for laughs. Just for amusement.”

Packham concluded the letter by calling for Ant, Dec and ITV to announce there will be “no more abuse of animals for entertainment” from 2024 on I'm a Celebrity, and instead, there should be an educational component which could be used to “celebrate wildlife and its conservation".

The BBC presenter also requested a percentage of the programme’s profits to be donated to “proactive practical conservation” and for the pair to present a programme highlighting this work.

You can see the letter in full here.

ITV replies to Chris Packham's letter about treatment of animals on I'm a Celebrity

I'm a Celebrity is currently running on ITV and is in its 23rd series.

ITV, on Tuesday (November 28), issued a response to Packham's letter. 

In a statement read on Good Morning Britain (GMB), the broadcaster said: "We are always fully transparent about our protocols and we have a very strict environment plan in place on the show. 

"As a production, we comply with all regional and national laws concerning the use of insects, animals and reptiles."

It added: "Welfare and safety is always the primary priority on any of our programmes, and at any Bushtucker trial that features animals, we have qualified and experienced animal handlers on site at all times. 

"We inform the RSPCA NSW (New South Wales) of all of our activities on the show and they have an open invitation to attend the site at any time."