Fireworks Scare Penguins at NHL Game, Prompting Backlash

Published by PETA.

At a recent Pittsburgh Penguins game, penguins from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium were paraded in front of the screaming crowd—and caught on camera scrambling in terror from the explosion of a fireworks display directly behind them. The clip has resulted in widespread media attention and inspired people all over the country to speak up in behalf of animals abused for entertainment.

It’s inherently stressful for wild animals like penguins—who naturally shun contact with humans and are extremely sensitive to environmental changes—to be hauled around, used as props, and exposed to noisy crowds, with or without explosives going off. While human spectators can understand that fireworks are supposed to be fun, animals have no way of knowing this and are naturally frightened by the noise and commotion.

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium—which has been criticized recently for its plans to help SeaWorld separate bonded captive polar bears—is no longer accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) because it refused to put protective measures in place for its elephants. This means that the zoo no longer has to maintain the AZA’s minimal standards of care for penguins and other animals. In November, the facility was cited for critical noncompliance with the federal Animal Welfare Act when an enclosure flooded, killing 36 bats.

PETA contacted the president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Penguins, asking that the team never again use live animals at Heinz Field, and the commissioner of the NHL, asking that he institute a policy against allowing animals at NHL games and events. Hockey fans come to see talented athletes compete, not sensitive animals being terrorized.

What You Can Do

Join compassionate people everywhere in letting the NHL know that a crowded, noisy arena is no place for animals and urge it to institute a policy against allowing animals at games and events. At a time when Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that it’ll close and SeaWorld ended its orca-breeding program, it has never been clearer that the public does not support the abuse of animals for human entertainment.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind