Keep Aquatic Birds Off the Ice Rink!’ PETA Tells Pittsburgh Penguins

Video Footage Shows Birds Scrambling in Terror After Fireworks Go Off at Heinz Field

For Immediate Release:
March 2, 2017

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Pittsburgh – At Saturday’s 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 a fireworks explosion. In response, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—sent a letter this morning calling on the team never again to use live animals at Heinz Field.

“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.”

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PETA’s letter to the Pittsburgh Penguins follows.

March 2, 2017

David Morehouse

President and CEO

Pittsburgh Penguins

Dear Mr. Morehouse,

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide to urge you never again to have live animals at Heinz

Field, given the disturbing video footage showing penguins from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium scrambling in terror after being paraded in front of a screaming crowd and in close proximity to ear-splitting fireworks.

It’s inherently stressful for wild animals—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. Hockey fans come to see talented athletes compete, not shy animals terrorized.

Being held in captivity is stressful enough to make penguins susceptible to illness, and putting them in a crowded, noisy stadium only makes matters worse.

Also, since 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), it 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.

A noisy arena filled with screaming people and loud fireworks is no place for wild animals. At a time when Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has

announced that it will close and SeaWorld has ended its orca-breeding program, it has never been clearer that the public does not support the abuse of animals for human entertainment. Will you please let us know that you won’t use live animals for promotions in the future?

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

John Di Leonardo, M.S.

Senior Campaigner

Animals in Entertainment

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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