PETA Plea to Red Wings: ‘Please Keep Octopuses Off the Ice!’

Eject Anyone Intending to Toss Aquatic Animals in Joe Louis Arena, Says Group

For Immediate Release:
April 7, 2017

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Amid widespread reports that Red Wings fans are expected to throw dead octopuses onto the ice during the team’s final two games at Joe Louis Arena, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—sent a letter today calling on the team and the arena to crack down on rules already in place to prohibit this practice.

“Octopuses are intelligent, sensitive animals who feel pain, and it’s no more acceptable to kill one for such a disrespectful, frivolous, and stupid purpose than it is to throw a dead bear cub onto the ice during a Bruins game,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on the Red Wings to penalize any fan who brings an octopus into Joe Louis Arena and bar them from ever attending a game again.”

Noting that octopuses are fascinating animals who use tools, communicate with one another using patterns of light and color, form romantic social bonds, and deserve our respect, PETA proposes checking Red Wings fans for concealed octopuses at the door—and upping fines from $500 to $5,000 as well as throwing them out and banning them from future games.

In its letter, PETA suggests than fans celebrate the team’s success with cruelty-free plush octopus toys.

For more information, please visit

PETA’s letter to the Detroit Red Wings follows.

April 7, 2017

Christopher Ilitch

President and CEO

Detroit Red Wings

Dear Mr. Ilitch,

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 5 million members and supporters—including thousands across Michigan, with many sports fans among them—in advance of the final two games of the season at Joe Louis Arena and reports that fans will bring octopuses to throw on the ice. We strongly urge you to prohibit them from flinging these intelligent animals—dead or alive—onto the ice this weekend and to check attendees for concealed octopuses at the door. Please levy a $5,000 fine against those who bring an octopus into the arena or are caught throwing one on the ice. In addition, immediately eject them from the game and permanently ban them from all future Red Wings games.

Octopuses are extraordinarily intelligent and self-aware and have 10,000 more genes than humans do. Like other sea animals—including fish—they use tools, communicate with one another, and form social bonds. They’ve even been observed using coconut shells as shelter and wielding the poisonous tentacles of Portuguese men-of-war like swords. They can navigate mazes, solve puzzles, and open childproof jars. And everyone remembers Inky, the octopus who climbed out of an aquarium tank, traversed the floor, and slid down a 164-foot pipe to freedom. They are sentient beings, capable of feeling pain. It’s no more acceptable to kill them for a decades-old tradition than it is to harm any other living beings. Please, won’t you prohibit fans from engaging in such insensitive acts?

We hope you will issue a statement to all fans that throwing octopuses on the ice will not be tolerated. Perhaps you can encourage them to purchase and throw stuffed octopuses to celebrate their team’s success, without making light of cruelty to animals. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk



Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.