A Japanese amusement park has been forced to close its skating rink after facing severe criticism for freezing thousands of fish into the ice as an attraction for visitors.
The Space World amusement park, located in the south-west Japan city of Kitakyushu, opened the rink on November 12 with 5,000 dead fish under the surface of the ice as a decorative effect.
After a torrent of online criticism that denounced it as “cruel”, “immoral” and “weird,” the park is now melting the rink that is scheduled to take about a week to complete.
Space World spokesman Koji Shibata was quoted by AFP as saying, “We received critical voices saying it is not good to use creatures as a toy, and that it is bad to let food go to waste.”
According to media reports, the rink featured a variety of fishes, including sprats and mackerel. The criticism was prompted after the controversial rink was featured in a local TV report last week.
A statement released by the amusement park later said, “we deeply apologise to people who felt uncomfortable about the Ice Aquarium event. As a result, we have stopped the event from today,” Japan Times reported.
Calling it as the first attraction of its kind in the world, the website of the amusement park earlier suggested the Ice Aquarium as an opportunity for visitors to “glide across the sea.”
“We wanted customers to experience the feeling of skating on the sea, but after receiving criticism, we decided that we could not operate it any more” Toshimi Takeda, general manager of Space World said.
“We are planning to hold a memorial service for the fish inviting a Shinto priest, which we’d planned before getting criticised,” he added.