PETA Furious About Live Penguins Being Put Onto Ice During Stadium Series

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Fans at Heinz Field were delighted over the weekend by live penguins from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium waddling on the ice during the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers.

Others, however, were less delighted.

In a letter sent to the Pittsburgh Penguins, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals admonished the use of the animals during the game, saying the birds were sent “scrambling in terror” after being scared by fireworks.

“It’s inherently stressful for wild animals like penguins to be hauled around, used as props, and exposed to noisy crowds, with or without explosives going off,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling for the only Penguins on the ice at Heinz Field to be humans on skates.”

The letter is finished with a request: “Will you please let us know that you won’t use live animals for promotions in the future?”

Around 2:30 p.m., the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium responded the the criticism by defending the use of the penguins, saying that the safety of the animals is their top priority.

“The NHL worked with us to ensure that the penguins would be safe and enjoy their visit to Heinz Field,” the statement said, in part. “The penguins who attended the Winter Classic are some of the same penguins that participate in our weekend Penguins on Parade event. They are very comfortable around people and noises.”

As for the penguins’ reaction to the fireworks? The Zoo says the reaction lasted “less than 10 seconds,” before the birds were back to playing on the ice.

“The loud pop from the pyro technical display temporarily startled the penguins and their first reaction, similar to a human’s when startled, they flapped their wings.”

But, PETA wasn’t about to accept the zoo’s explanation.

Around 7 p.m., another statement was sent responding to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

“These penguins were terrified into a flight response—there’s simply no refuting that. While human beings were able to realize that the fireworks were merely startling and not dangerous, these penguins were obviously frightened and attempted to flee,” the statement read, in part.

PETA ended the message by saying the zoo should “do better by the animals in its care.”

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One Comment

  1. I agree – using penguins as props is ridiculous and cruel? Who came up with this stupid idea? Leave animals out of these kinds of events.

  2. Kim Marie says:

    I am too. This is preposterous and inhumane. BOO HISS.

  3. Rick Oskin says:

    peta, owners of the single largest animal kill facility in the US, their idea of humane is to freeze to death. Although I disagree with the idiots of peta I also think this was cruel behavior by the zoo which isn’t new.

  4. What were they thinking? Oh yeah, they weren’t. Next time, leave the penguins out of it.

  5. I thought PETA was too busy with their PORN work to care about anything else.

  6. John Dole says:

    Good gahd Peta…get a grip. You do realize, that even in the wild there could be loud noises that scare them….boo friggen hoo

    1. Ide Clair says:

      We can’t control what happens in nature. This situation was deliberate and unnecessary. Would you set fireworks off around your unsuspecting dog?

      1. John Dole says:

        Every 4th of July people light off fireworks. And yes, people and animals are sometimes momentarily startled…boo hoo…

  7. Mark Rosario says:

    These penguins are out and about with the public at the zoo all the damn time. Our country works towards making it hard for minorities, old, and poor to vote… and we care about penguins running across the ice?

  8. Must we find a way to exploit every species possible. Real penguins have no place in a hockey arena. So not humane. Way to alienate fans, Pittsburgh.

  9. Ide Clair says:

    What kind of demented people think it’s OK to terrify animals?

  10. PETA kills 89% of the animals they take in every year.

  11. Greg Novak says:

    The ONLY sensible thing to do now is ensure there are live penguins present at every Pens game. But, hold the fireworks.

Comments are closed.

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