Springwatch star says awful Im A Celeb should ditch animals from trials

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Springwatch host Megan McCubbin has called for I’m A Celebrity bosses to ditch bugs and animals from trials, ­branding the show “awful”.

She joins her stepdad, Chris Packham, in criticising the series for their use of creatures including ­cockroaches, spiders, and rats.

Zoologist Megan, currently starring in BBC Two’s Chris and Meg’s Wild Summer, says: “I’m A Celebrity is ­awful. I have a bugbear about it.

“They could make trials that are challenging and make the audience squirm but don’t use animals at all.

“We’ve moved past that point and should know better.”

Chris has previously penned an open letter to Ant and Dec asking them to rethink using animals.

Changes were made last year – when the show, which has featured the likes of Andrew Whyment, was filmed in a Welsh castle instead of the Australian ­outback – to accommodate vegan ­ex-Coronation Street actress Beverley Callard.

She was given meat-free dishes to chow down on while Vernon Kay and Jordan North chomped on animal ­penis, brain and testicles.

Megan’s mum Jo split from wildlife favourite Chris 13 years ago but stepdad and daughter remain close.

She even moved into Chris’s New Forest home just before the first lockdown so she could carry on working while her nurse mum was in and out of hospital as an NHS key worker.

Megan made her live TV debut ­during Springwatch 2020 and has since joined Chris and the gang on subsequent “watches”.

And she admits she owes her ­stepdad for giving her a television platform.

She adds: “Chris and I have an ­unusual relationship in many aspects but we get along so well.

“It’s brilliant having his backing.

“He was 25 when he did The Really Wild Show and I was 25 when I went on Springwatch – so he’s a great ­teacher to have learned from.

“I’m grateful to him for helping open those doors.

“He’s shown me this world of ­wildlife, which if I hadn’t met him aged two I might not have got into in the same way I have done.

“My mum and dad think wildlife is interesting but it’s not their vocation like it is for Chris and myself.”

Fame is a by-product of doing what she can to make the world a better place – but it’s not something Megan is chasing. She says: “I’m grateful to be able to talk about things I love and do it as a job.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by how lovely people have been.

“It’s nice going to nature reserves and connecting with people with a similar passion – we have a lot of ­wildlife chat.”

Megan, who is working with Go Organic during Organic September to raise awareness of species at risk of ­extinction in the next decade, hopes she can inspire more women to get into science.

She says: “As a young scientist, who talks about complicated scientific concepts, it’s important for young girls to see that.

“I’ve had a lot of women messaging me nervous about getting into science because of their gender.

“The more we can raise the bar for women in science the better. Sexual orientation and race too – we need more diversity.”

In January Chris told the Daily Star: “We need more young people ­determined to make a difference in the world.”

And Megan – who has also had to overcome dyslexia – is certainly doing that.

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Go Organic’s ARC 2031 survey reveals the 10 native species most at risk of ­extinction in the UK, with the garden bumblebee, hedgehog and grey ­long-eared bat on the edge of being wiped out for ever.

Reasons for this ­include modern methods of food production and excessive use of pesticides, so opting for organic products can help.

Megan says: “By thinking about what you’re purchasing you can have a significant impact on the environment and wildlife around you.

“We are running out of time.

“People struggle to grasp how much trouble we are actually in.

“Go Organic have this incredible free exhibition in London which they’ve named ARC 2031 because we’ve only got 10 years before the damage to our climate becomes irreversible.”

And going organic doesn’t have to mean coughing up a fortune for expensive products.

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Megan says: “Sometimes organic own-brand produce can be equal or less to bigger brands.

“So research and look at local farm shops.”

With many seeing the Covid pandemic as a sign from Mother Nature to take better care of the ­planet, people are already changing their habits.

“The organic market grew in 2020 by 12.5%,” says Megan.

“If you put one more organic

thing in your trolly than you did from last time it’s a step in the right direction.”

● Go Organic will be highlighting the stories behind the ARC 2031 species at a free exhibition in London from September 23-25 to show visitors how their choices can really make a difference.

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