Page last updated at 17:53 GMT, Sunday, 6 December 2009

I'm A Celebrity's D'Acampo and Manning face rat charges

 Gino Stuart Manning (left) and Gino D'Acampo
Manning and D'Acampo allegedly ate the rat as part of a meal

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! winner Gino D'Acampo and Stuart Manning face charges of animal cruelty after cooking and eating a rat in the show.

The RSPCA in New South Wales, Australia, said it was "not acceptable" that a rat had been killed by the pair as part of a performance.

Police confirmed they had issued court attendance notices for 3 February 2010.

The Italian chef and actor ate the rat after they were "exiled" and reduced to rations of rice and beans on the show.

D'Acampo, 33, told 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."

The "exiled" group, including 30-year-old Manning, ate the rat as part of a meal.

Ch Insp David Oshannessy, from the RSPCA in New South Wales, told BBC Radio 5 live there was a "code of practice" which dictated how animals could be used in theatrical productions and films.

It happened on a day no animals were featuring in production, so we didn't have an officer there
Ch Insp David Oshannessy, RSPCA

"The killing of a rat for a performance is not acceptable. The concern is this was done purely for the cameras," he said.

The charity sends staff whenever animals are used for filmed or live performances, he said, and so had been in contact with the programme's producers before the rat was killed.

"Production staff have to submit a notification form to the RSPCA or Animal Welfare League - both are charged with responsibilities under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

"But we received no pre-notice or advice this segment was going to occur, it happened on a day no animals were featuring in production, so we didn't have an officer there," he said.

New South Wales Police said there were no plans to bring charges against the ITV show's producers.

A spokesman said: "Police from Murwillumbah yesterday issued field court attendance notices to two men aged 30 and 33 for the offence of animal cruelty.

"They are due to attend court at Murwillumbah local court on 3 February 2010."

An ITV spokesperson said: "The Australian RSPCA are currently investigating an incident that a rat was killed in the camp."



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