Reading Time: 2 minutes The event featuring Humboldt penguins was advertised with this image of Emperor penguins
Reading Time: 2 minutes

An event in London – where members of the public would ice-skate with penguins – has been canceled following furious criticism from vegan campaigners and animal welfarists.

Queens Skate Dine Bowl in Bayswater, which advertised the event as ‘celebrating Penguin Awareness Day 2019’, planned to place five Humboldt penguins in pens on the ice, as people skated around them.

These plans provoked ire among organizations like PETA and the Born Free Foundation as well as concerned individuals.

‘Terrible, exploitative idea’

“Using penguins to draw in paying customers is cruel and unthinking. Humboldt penguins belong in cold water and on the rocky islands off the coast of South America, not on a skating rink in London,” PETA said.

“Ice skating with live penguins is a terrible, exploitative idea, even if profits go to charity. The best thing for Penguin Awareness Day is to cancel the event,” added the Born Free Foundation.

‘Unethical and unnecessary’

The ice-rink also drew the ire of individuals via social media. “Please cancel your penguin event, it’s so unethical and unnecessary! It’s 2019 we don’t need to exploit animals for profit,” on wrote on Instagram.

“Please don’t go ahead with the event with penguins,” another added. “I actually thought it was a joke at first because the idea is just so cruel and ridiculous. To bring animals into a ridiculously busy place nothing close to their natural environments and cause unnecessary stress to them is unforgivable.”

“What heartless moron thought it was a good idea to use live penguins for this event?” said another. “They don’t belong on your ice rink, they will be terrified.”

Event canceled

These concerns led to the event being canceled over the weekend, with Queens Skate Dine Bowl making an announcement on Twitter.

“Sadly due to the concerns raised by various animal protection groups including PETA and Freedom for Animals – we have had to cancel the event in the interests of the penguins and our guests,” it said.

“We thank those who shared our excitement about this event – your tickets will be refunded in the next 48 hours.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.