Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls faced criticism from PETA after contestants killed a caiman on the show last week.
And during an appearance on Good Morning Britain today, Shazia Mirza, who is vegetarian, defended the group’s slaughtering of the animal – describing their predicament as “a survival situation”.
Speaking to presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on Tuesday’s show (September 12), she explained: “Listen, I’m vegetarian and I hadn’t eaten meat for eight years.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
“But at that point on the island, we hadn’t eaten any food for nine days. We had no food at all. I know people watching at home probably think producers were secretly bringing us packets of crisps or pieces of cake – well, they weren’t.
“You can survive for about 30 days without food, but we were starving. I know it’s a reality show, but it was a survival situation.
“Whether you’re vegan or vegetarian, if you’re in a life or death situation, you will do anything to survive.”
The killing of the caiman on the show attracted 11 Ofcom complaints, and also led the director of PETA UK to condemn the “miserable celebrities and producers” for allowing the events to occur.
Following the upsetting scenes, viewers also took to Twitter to berate the series for carrying out such graphic and distressing cruelty against animals in the name of entertainment.
However, Iwan Thomas, who joined Shazia on Good Morning Britain, reiterated that the group was “starving”.
According to the Olympian, everyone taking part in the series lost at least two stone during filming.
“It was a do or die situation,” he said. “It sounds cruel, but I felt no remorse when I killed that caiman – I know that’s horrible.
“There was no pleasure in killing it, but we were starving. I feel bad that we took an animal’s life, but we had to eat.”
A Channel 4 spokesman said after last week’s show: “An important part of the series is to find out if the celebrities are capable of surviving alone and able to find sources of food, including hunting and killing for meat; a vital part of their survival as it is a source of valuable calories and protein.
“The celebrities were trained in the humane capture and dispatch of live animals as part of their survival training and the adult caiman was killed humanely.”
Last year’s edition of The Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls also saw Ollie Locke kill a caiman for food – a scene which led to criticism from animal rights groups and his former Made in Chelsea co-star Lucy Watson.
Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls continues tonight (September 12) on Channel 4. Good Morning Britain airs on weekdays from 6am on ITV.
Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Just hit ‘Like’ on our Digital Spy Facebook page and ‘Follow’ on our @digitalspy Twitter account and you’re all set.