A Japanese amusement park faced a deluge of criticism after opening an ice skating rink featuring thousands of dead fish suspended in ice.
Space World, in the southwestern city of Kitakyushu, closed the aquarium-themed skating rink on Nov. 17 after an online campaign called the attraction, "immoral," "cruel" and "disrespectful of life," reports the Guardian.
The outcry began after a local TV report on the rink, which featured about 5,000 dead mackerel and other fish embedded in ice. Some of the frozen fish were positioned to spell out "hello," while others formed arrows to guide skaters in the correct direction around the rink.
According to the newspaper Asahi Shimbun, Space World wanted visitors to "have a sense of sliding on the sea." The amusement park's website touted the rink as the first attraction of its kind in the world.
In the face of mounting criticism, officials told Asahi Shimbun that the fish were already dead before they embedded them into the ice. "Misunderstanding spread on the Internet that the fish were frozen alive, but that was not the case. We should have explained more."
The park plans to hold a memorial service for the fish next year.