A disturbing video showing a group of penguins dressed in Christmas outfits and being corralled for photo ops has gone viral. Adorned in ridiculous red capes, the birds are forced to walk through Japan’s Matsue Vogel Park—where the zoo in which they’re held is located—followed by a crowd of paying visitors.
— 松江フォーゲルパーク (@matsuevogelpark) December 11, 2015
One of the penguins attempts to make a break for it, only to be chased back to the group by a keeper with a broom.
Is this what “Christmas cheer” has come to?
This vile facility has a history of dressing penguins up in demeaning costumes in pathetic bids to boost its profits. The birds have been subjected to this cruelty at Christmastime since 2009. They’re also exploited during high-profile international events. For example, they were dressed as “footballers” during the 2014 World Cup and as “cheerleaders” during the 2016 Olympics.
Penguins Are Not Photo Props
This isn’t the only park that uses penguins as props. South Korean abusement park Everland has forced penguins to walk around in Santa Claus, Christmas tree, and zookeeper outfits.
It’s very stressful for wild animals to be hauled around and forced to interact with large, noisy crowds of people. Yet zoos, safari parks, and self-described “sanctuaries” all over Asia charge visitors for photo ops and close-up interactions with animals who belong in the wild – and they do so to line their own pockets.