I'm A Celebrity under fire for use of small horse in new advert

‘Cheap laughs at the expense of animal welfare’: Ant McPartlin comes under fire from PETA after presenter ‘risked causing a Shetland pony acute back pain’ for I’m A Celebrity clip

  • The official trailer for the new series of I’m A Celebrity dropped on Friday 
  • Ant McPartlin shared a behind-the-scenes clip of him sat on the back of a small horse dressed as a knight with fans on Instagram 
  • The presenter came under fire from animal welfare organisation PETA who slammed the video for producing ‘cheap laughs at the expense of animals’
  • Fans also criticised the use of the small pony in the advert, claiming Ant was ‘too heavy’ to be sat on its back as they shared their ‘disappointment’
  • I’m A Celebrity will film once again in the UK at Gwrych Castle in North Wales
  • The series is set to return next month in November 

I’m A Celebrity has come under fire from animal welfare charity PETA after after Ant McPartlin was seen filming the advert for the new series while sat on a small Shetland pony.  

The presenter, 45, shared a behind-the-scenes clip of himself and Declan Donnelly on set after the official trailer for I’m A Celeb dropped on Friday. 

In the footage he shared to Instagram, Ant is dressed as a knight and sat on the back of the horse as he joked it was doing ‘a little dance’ while pacing around. 

Under fire: I’m A Celebrity has come under fire from fans after Ant McPartlin was seen filming the advert for the new series while sat on a small horse in a behind-the-scenes clip 

Dec was also seen in the clip, like Ant dressed as a knight, seated on a much bigger white horse as it shuffled about with him on its back.

Ant joked: ‘Haha it’s doing a little dance for you,’ before singing: ‘Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight.’

He was later seen feeding the horse a treat and saying: ‘This is what you get for being a good boy.’

However, reacting to the footage, PETA released a statement slamming the decision to use the horse for ‘cheap laughs’ as the organisation urged bosses to find ‘more creative and humane ways’ to promote the show.

New promo: Ant shared footage of him filming the advert for I’m A Celebrity’s new series to the Instagram page he shares with Declan Donnelly on Sunday night

PETA’s Director Elisa Allen said in a statement to MailOnline: ‘Is there anything I’m A Celebrity wouldn’t do in a desperate attempt to get cheap laughs at the expense of animals’ welfare? 

‘This stunt caused a Shetland pony to struggle and risk acute back pain and even lameness.’

Allen added: ‘PETA urges the show’s producers to find more creative and humane ways of introducing its absurd antics and to leave animals in peace.’

While fans were excited to see the return of I’m A Celebrity to TV screens next month, the post – shared via Ant and Dec’s Instagram page – was overshadowed by those also sharing their ‘disappointment’ over the use of the small pony in the advert. 

Difference: In the footage, Dec is seen sat on the back of a much bigger white horse

Funny guy: Ant jokes in the clip that his horse is ‘trying to do a little dance’ as it paces around with him on his back and moves its head up and down

All dressed up: He is seen dressed up as a knight while on set filming in the countryside

Claiming that the horse looked like it was in discomfort and Ant was ‘too heavy’ to be sitting on its back, fans said they were left ‘upset’ by the footage.  

‘Bloody hell Ant you are wey (sic) too big for that little horse get off,’ wrote one person. 

Another questioned: ‘How was this actually allowed …beyond belief that poor little pony it’s wicked.’

A third alleged: ‘That’s not cool guys. The reason that pony is dancing around like that is because of the weight on his back. That pony should only carry the weight of a small child on his back, not a full grown man in armour. The horse is clearly not happy which doesn’t make it very funny.’

Horsing around: The star was in high spirits as he straddled the pony in his costume

‘Good boy’: In the footage, Ant was also seen giving the horse a treat for being a ‘good boy’

‘Poor little pony’: Fans were quick to share their ‘disappointment’, as hundreds commented on the clip and claimed Ant was ‘too big’ to be sat on the pony

A fourth said: ‘Love your work, always have, but shame on you both for using that small pony to carry Ant who is clearly far to heavy for it.’

‘I thought it funny until I saw Ants horse.. far too small for him with all that weight.. made me upset,’ said one more follower. 

‘Would have been better if they showed him on a rocking horse as he is far too heavy for that pony,’ added another.

One person commented: ‘I’m shocked this was allowed! Ant is much too big for that small pony! So disappointed.’

Another shared: ‘I love you and guys and think you are both brilliant but this is not funny at all. The strain you will be putting on that small pony’s back is huge. Disappointed in you guys.’ 

Mixed reviews: While some found the behind-the-scenes clip ‘hilarious’, others shared their ‘upset’ over Ant being sat on the back of the small horse

Others found the size of the horse funny, as they applauded the tongue-in-cheek clip, with one follower commenting: ‘Hilarious that horse is far too small.’

‘This is hilarious haha,’ said one fan, as plenty more commented with crying laughing emoji. 

MailOnline has reached out to a spokesperson for ITV for comment. 

The official trailer for this year’s series of I’m A Celebrity, which will take place in the UK once again at Gwrych Castle in Wales, was released on Friday. 

In the 40-second long clip, Ant and Dec are seen heading out on a quest dressed as knights, with Ant joking about the size of his horse compared to Dec’s, who is shorter than him, and quipping: ‘I think we’ve got the wrong horses.’

Back again: The official trailer for I’m A Celeb dropped on Friday, with Ant joking in the 40-second long clip that he thinks he and Dec, who is shorter than him, got the ‘wrong horses’

It came after the pair were shown this year’s lineup, which is yet to be confirmed publicly, in another video. While no details surrounding this year’s stars were given, an excited Ant and Dec were seen animatedly reacting, before revealing they were ‘happy’ with the confirmed celebs. 

Rumoured stars set to appear include Love Island’s Maura Higgins, Richard Madeley, EastEnders Adam Woodyatt and former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips. 

Preparations for the upcoming series are underway at the camp in Gwrych Castle, North Wales, which will play host for the second consecutive year due to travel restrictions surrounding its usual home on Australia’s east coast. 

Exciting: The pair set out on a quest as they returned to the castle where I’m A Celebrity filmed in North Wales last year during the pandemic ahead of another UK-based series

ITV bosses are facing a scramble against time to renovate the dilapidated building – which is now closed to the public – and its surrounding areas ahead of the new series expected to begin in November.

The reality show, which usually films in the Australian wilderness, was forced to relocate to the dilapidated castle following fears Australia could shut its borders because of the ongoing pandemic.

Producers have since filed an extensive planning application to the authorities in order to make the country house inhabitable in time for the new series.

Last year’s I’m A Celebrity series was the first to take place in the UK. The show was won by Giovanna Fletcher, with Radio 1 host Jordan North finishing in second place and Vernon Kay following close behind in third place.  

Not long to go: I’m A Celebrity, which usually films in Australia, is set to return in November

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