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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 17:59 GMT
P Diddy angers animal activists
P Diddy was hosting a launch at a Florida hotel
Rap star P Diddy has angered animal rights activists after penguins were used as a party piece at an event he was hosting in the US.

The animals were placed on a floating glass platform in a swimming pool at a hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.

Animal rights group Peta has expressed concern that it was far too hot for penguins who are used to cold climates.

A hotel spokesman claimed the South African penguins were a warm-weather variety trained for entertaining.

A "sincere apology" was also issued to any party-goers who were offended by the display.

A spokesman for the rap star, who was billed as the host of the hotel launch, said that the use of the penguins had not been P Diddy's idea.

Most species of penguin are used to cold climates

Onlookers at the party said the group of penguins on the platform were huddled together with their backs to the crowd.

Peta (People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals) spokesman Michael McGraw said the organisation is looking into whether the incident contravened any anti-cruelty legislation.

He added that the event was probably unbearable for the penguins.

"They're very sensitive to temperatures, so if it was as hot as we've heard, it's a wonder they didn't collapse," he said.

"In any case, they were likely terrified and at the very least it was a very bad idea," added Mr McGraw.

He added that there was one species of penguin which is adapted to warm weather, but said that the birds should not be used for entertainment purposes, and urged those who attended the party to get in touch.



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