Channel 10 “condemns the hunting of animals”

Channel 10 has declared that it condemns the hunting of animals. For what reason, we have no idea.

An animal welfare group has knocked back donations from I‚Äôm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! in protest over the reality show‚Äôs handling of wild animals.

According to an article on the website, Neighbours star Dean Geyer had nominated the group Campaign Against Canned Hunting, which fights against the captive breeding of lions for trophy hunting, as his preferred charity to receive cash raised by viewers voting to keep him in the forest.

But the group told the network it did not want money earned through broadcasting segments involving the handling of lion and leopard cubs.

At issue are scenes in the 10th episode of the reality show, when Jo Beth Taylor underwent the feral foot fetish challenge, in which she had to attempt to identify African wildlife with her feet.

“The reward was food, but to be honest being with a white lion cub will be the memory of the entire trip for Jo Beth,” Taylor’s publicity team captioned an album of Facebook photographs of the challenge.

CACH raised concerns about the sourcing of the critically-endangered white lion cub, alleging links to the trophy hunting industry.

While co-host Dr Chris Brown stated on air that the cub had been abandoned by its mother and was raised as part of a conservationist breeding program, CACH claims that the Letaba River Lodge Eco Park in Tzaneen, which Network Ten has confirmed as the source, runs a purely commercial operation that does not involve releasing lions back into the wild.

“It would seem that Network Ten has been duped by the same story told to thousands of gullible tourists and volunteers,” CACH directors Chris Mercer and Linda Park said in a statement.

They said the ultimate fate of cubs reared by Letaba was to be used as prey for wealthy game hunters, who pay $22,000 to shoot and kill a lion — or as much as $120,000 for a rhinoceros.

Some safari operators let hunters choose the size and colour of their target animal out of a catalogue

According to CACH, captive lion breeders “hide the ultimate fate” of the cubs offered up for petting by tourists as this activity was “a profitable spin-off from the main purpose: that of rearing lions to huntable size”

“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 okay,” Mr Mercer and Ms Park said.

A spokeswoman for Ten said in a statement that the network “takes the welfare of animals very seriously and condemns the hunting of animals” and that the production had followed due diligence procedures.

“Network Ten, along with ITV Studios Australia, the producer of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, strictly follow the guidelines as stipulated by the governing authorities, including the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), to ensure all animals used on set are handled calmly, correctly and safely,” the statement said.

“Letaba River Lodge Eco Park assured ITV Studios Australia that this cub, along with other lions, will remain on the reserve [and] that they do not partake in or associate with canned lion hunting or any other type of hunting. Letaba has lions on the reserve that are used for educational purposes, tourism and photography at events.

“The lion in question was abandoned by its mother after losing two others from the litter. This was her first litter so she stopped feeding and left the last cub alone for dead. The specialised team at Letaba had to feed and nurse the cub in order for it to survive.”





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