Controversy over penguins on ice

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The penguins taking to the ice © Liverpool One/Facebook

Liverpool ONE is facing criticism from animal charity PETA for their use of tropical penguins at their Ice Festival launch this month.

The five Humboldt penguins were displayed to the public in a small pen, and then taken to the skating rink where – after some coaxing – they made their way onto the ice.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have pointed out that Humboldt penguins do not belong in freezing conditions as they nest on the coasts of Chile and Peru.

A spokesperson for PETA said: “It is reckless and cruel to take Humboldt penguins or any animals and deliberately place them in a frightening and wholly unsuitable environment – such as a tiny ice enclosure when they belong in the warm water.

“Forcing penguins to endure the stress of being hauled around and then released onto a patch of neon-lit ice in front of hordes of holiday shoppers can only leave them petrified and disoriented and can actually impair their immune systems.”

Educational talks took place at the Ice Festival every half hour. However, PETA said in future, the shopping centre should use robotic penguins to demonstrate the behaviour of the creatures without forcing a stressful environment on real birds.

In a statement, Liverpool One said: “The company that brought the penguins to Liverpool ONE is held in high regard in their industry.

“They have worked with high-profile entertainment and educational organisations on an international scale and are experts in their field. Based on expert advice we are confident that the welfare of the penguins is always their priority.”

The supplier of the penguins, who was not named in the statement, said: “These particular penguins are multi-generation captive-bred and are part of a successful breeding colony.

“They are trained and receive regular behaviour enrichment. During the lengthy time (several decades) the company has kept penguins, there have been no reports on the birds experiencing stress.”










About Rachael Leitch, JMU Journalism