Prior to this year's Stadium Series game at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field, the NHL got the crowd a little extra amped by dumping some real-live penguins on to the ice. They slid around a bit, fell down and generally impressed with their adorable little waddles.
They were also miserable, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The animal rights group put out a statement condemning the NHL for torturing the animals by exposing them to a large crowd and deafening 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. Will you please let us know that you won’t use live animals for promotions in the future?”
The Pittsburgh Zoo, which provided the animals for the ceremony, was quick to shut down PETA. The penguins that were at the game are no stranger to crowds and noises. They regularly participate in the zoo's Penguins on Parade event, the zoo said in a statement.
The zoo also said that the noise from the fireworks was no big deal. "The loud pop from the pyrotechnical display temporarily startled the penguins and their first reaction, similar to a human’s when startled, they flapped their wings. It was less than 10 seconds, and the penguins were back to normal and exploring and playing on the ice."
Going by the pictures, it sure looks like zoo was right. These penguins look just fine... except for that gdeformed one of the far left.