Target: Mr. A Parkinson, Director and Manager, Touchwood Shopping Center
Goal: Applaud cancellation of event where live penguins are paraded in front of large crowds.
An event where families can go to meet live, captive penguins that are marched around for human entertainment has been halted from occurring at a shopping center in the U.K. The event, which has been going on for three years, was cancelled due to pressure from advocacy group Derby Animal Rights as well as concerned English citizens. These groups brought up concerns for the welfare and mental well-being of the animals, which have very specific needs in order to be healthy and comfortable.
Event organizers claim that the Penguin Encounter is designed to raise awareness to the plight of the Humboldt Penguin in the wild. Rights groups counter that the use of captive penguins as entertainment is not necessary for the cause, and could send the wrong idea to impressionable children about the treatment of wild animals. Furthermore, being paraded in front of excited and noisy crowds in sub-optimal weather conditions is not conducive to healthy and happy animals.
Humboldt Penguins are a vulnerable species which face decline due to ocean acidification, over-fishing, habitat destruction, and climate change. Only about 3,000 of the creatures remain alive in the wild, mainly inhabiting the coasts of Chile and Peru. A stark reduction in the amount of recorded breeding colonies suggests that the population will continue to face decline in the immediate future.
While it is laudable that the shopping center wants to raise awareness for endangered wild animals, using captive species to get the point across is counterproductive. It not only suggests that the use of threatened species for entertainment is acceptable, but could cause stress and health issues for the animals. Sign the petition below to applaud the cancellation of the Penguin Encounter event at the Touchwood Shopping Center.
Dear Mr. A Parkinson,
The Touchwood Shopping Center has decided to cancel its annual Penguin Encounter, where live captive penguins are paraded in front of large, noisy crowds. While this event was originally intended to bring awareness to the plight of the vulnerable Humboldt Penguin species, it sends the message that taking penguins from the wild in order to breed them in captivity and use it for human entertainment is acceptable.
Fortunately, it is still possible for the mall to advocate for wild penguins without exploiting their captive cousins. We, the undersigned, praise your decision to cancel the event and ask that you come up with an alternative without live animals in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Drcwp1