A Japanese amusement park recently decided to liven up its skating rink in the strangest way possible — by freezing thousands of real fish beneath the ice.
Space World, located in the city of Kitakyushu, opened its unusual skating rink earlier this month. The display featured 5,000 fish, crabs and other sea creatures frozen beneath the rink — in one photo, several orange fish peek above the surface of the ice, their mouths frozen open in apparent animation.
The park claimed that the whale shark skin (bottom middle picture) was merely a photo placed under the ice. Space World
In a Facebook post announcing the opening, Space World reportedly captioned the photos with remarks like “I am d… d… drowning, s … s… suffocating,” according to CNN.
But the public wasn’t buying it.
Condemnation on social media was swift, particularly after the rink was featured on local television, with users appalled over the apparent waste of life that went into creating the park.
“Disgusting,” one recent Facebook review read. “In what alternate reality is your administration living in to think that freezing a bunch of animals into a skating rink would be a good idea?!?!?! I’m completely dumbfounded. You all are sick and need help.”
“Who … thought skating over dead animals was a good idea?” another read. “Why not use fake/plastic/toys instead??”
The park seemed surprised by the backlash, noting that the fish were purchased from markets and were already dead. But people were still angry over needless loss of life.
“Those fish died for nothing!” another reviewer wrote. “What a terrible idea, no respect for living things. I hope all Japanese residents boycott your place.”
While this situation is certainly unique, many are taking heart from the public distaste for the skating rink, noting that it’s just the latest in a series of incidents that indicate public sentiments over animal welfare could be changing for the better across Asia.
“This is just unbelievable,” Naomi Rose, a marine biologist with the Animal Welfare Institute, said in a Facebook post. “Literally. I thought it was a piece from The Onion, but it is not. The only good thing about this is the reaction of the public.”
“Until people stop seeing other animals as objects for our amusement, this kind of thing will happen,” she added.
And in this particular case, the public has won. The park shut down the attraction following the international outcry, and deleted all mention of the skating rink from its Facebook page.
“We were shocked to hear the reaction as the ice skate rink was very popular since it opened two weeks ago, we had an unprecedented number of visitors,” Toshimi Takeda, manager of the park, told CNN. “We had endless opinions about the project … We are sorry for the project and decided to close the rink on that night.”
He also told the outlet that the park plans to remove the fish and hold an “appropriate religious service” before using them as fertilizer.