PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — PETA has sent a letter to the NHL asking them to ban the use of live animals at hockey games.

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The letter is addressed to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and says: “On behalf of PETA and our more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide, [we] urge you to institute a policy against allowing animals at NHL games and events.”

The letter is in response to last week’s controversy over an appearance by some live penguins, from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, on the ice at Heinz Field before the Stadium Series game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 25.

PETA claims the penguins were frightened when some pre-game fireworks went off in the stadium.

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But Pittsburgh Zoo officials said the fireworks only “temporarily startled” the penguins. They went on to say the animals also participate in their “Penguins on Parade” event at the zoo, and are “very comfortable around people and noises.”

The letter from PETA ends by asking: “May we please hear that the NHL will implement a policy against having animals at its games and events? ”

To read the full letter from PETA, click here.

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