Chef Gino D’Acampo and actor Stuart Manning could be facing fines or even jail time for killing and eating a rat on the UK reality show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! The pair is due in court on Feb. 3 to face charges of animal cruelty. The maximum penalty for the crime is three years in prison.

Chef Gino D'Acampo

Chef Gino D'Acampo

The contestants on the show at the time were split into two groups, one of which was in “exile” supplied with very meager rations. I’m a Celebrity contestant Gino D’Acampo apparently came up with the idea of killing and eating the rat to add to their dinner. “It’s not done by choice but it’s done because we need it,” D’Acampo said of the rat feast. “We need some kind of protein; we need some kind of flavor.”

ITV, which hosts the show, has apologized for the rat-munching stunt. “The production was asked if a rat could be caught and eaten by the celebrities in exile camp to supplement the basic rations they had been provided with for their evening meal,” the network said in a press statement.

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“Having sought health and safety advance, the go-ahead was given purely on this basis…” The network says it will “put in place procedures for next year’s series to ensure that this cannot happen again.”

“The killing of a rat for a performance is not acceptable. The concern is this was done purely for the cameras,” New South Wales RSPCA Chief Inspector David Oshannessy told BBC Radio 5.

Look, here’s the deal. A reality show is not going to let you starve to death. At least not yet, maybe a few years down the road…  Anyway. The paperwork and lawsuits involved would be terrible! So for god’s sake, have some dignity and don’t start eating the local vermin just because you haven’t had a cheeseburger in a couple of days.

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