Penguins will be exploited by Shopping Centre on ‘Black Friday’

This Friday, 25th November, penguins will be brought to the Idlewells Shopping Centre in Nottingham to entertain crowds at their ‘Black Friday’ launch. Animal campaigners have voiced urgent concerns that the penguins will be exposed to large crowds and noise and are calling on organisers “to put animal welfare first” by cancelling the penguin display.

The Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) campaigns annually against the use of live animals in festive events arguing there are serious welfare and ethical concerns over the use of animals in this way, as animals can become stressed when subjected to the busy environments of city centres and shopping centres.

Friday will be the nationwide event, ‘Black Friday’ which will see scores of shoppers flocking to shopping centres like Idlewells Shopping Centre, grabbing bargains on Christmas shopping.

CAPS Campaigns Director, Nicola O’Brien stated:2048px-african_penguin_near_boulders_beach-web

“To have this event using wild animals on one of the busiest shopping dates of the year exposes these animals to extremely large crowds, far more than they would experience on a normal day, which will undoubtedly be stressful. Wild animals like penguins need very specific care, habitats and space to be able to live life to the fullest. A shopping centre can never provide that.”

As well as welfare concerns, the charity argues using wild animals as a form of ‘entertainment’ sends out the wrong educational messages to the public, in particular to children.

Campaign efforts in 2010 saw world-famous toy store, Hamleys, drop plans to host a display of live penguins. In recent years prestigious venue Covent Garden has ended the use of live animals at its Christmas events too, alongside a growing list of venues and local councils.

The charity say they are troubled further by this particular event, as they are concerned that the company providing the penguins for the event is ‘Amazing Animals’, which CAPS exposed in early 2016 following an investigation at the premises The charity filmed the business making big cats perform circus-style shows, using animals as photo props and some animals exhibiting behavioural issues. National press covered the investigation and wildlife experts including celebrity Chris Packham spoke out against the company.

Whilst the supplier has not been confirmed, the charity says that from the description of the supplier posted on the Shopping Centre website, which states the company is based in Oxfordshire and “specialises in providing highly trained animals for film and television”, the company is highly likely to be ‘Amazing Animals’. Photos in the article of the penguin’s enclosure also match those found on the ‘Amazing Animals’ facebook page.

Nicola continued:

“Whilst it is not confirmed at the moment, our research indicates that Amazing Animals may indeed be the supplier of animals for this event. We have sent this information to the event organisers and hope it guides them in making the correct decision for these animals, which is to put animal welfare first.”

The shopping centre management have been contacted by the charity with their concerns.

Take Action!

Please politely contact the organisers to ask them to cancel the penguin display and have a happy Christmas for all!


Send a polite message to Idlewells asking them to cancel this event and put animals first!

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Photo: By Paul Mannix – African penguin, near Boulders Beach, South Africa, CC BY-SA 2.0,
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