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PETA claims victory over Six Flags

Park says pressure played no decision

Posted: August 12, 2008 7:25 p.m.
Updated: October 14, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 

Animal rights activists aren't feeling as bugged this week.

Six Flags Magic Mountain officials said Tuesday that the park has decided not to hold its cockroach-eating challenge as part of this fall's "Fright Fest" Halloween festivities.

The decision follows objections by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

A Six Flags official said it was simply a business decision.

"Six Flags Magic Mountain was only referring to their specific park as it pertains to discontinuing the cockroach stunt," Sandra Daniels, vice president of communications for Six Flags, Inc., said in a statement.
"All other Six Flags parks are still in the process of finalizing their entertainment plans for Fright Fest 2008.
If we opt not to include cockroaches as part of those plans, it will not be because of PETA."

Kristie Phelps, assistant director for PETA, said the animal rights organization objected to the cockroach-eating contest, which featured Madagascar hissing cockroaches, that was held during last year's Fright Fest.

"We wrote to all Six Flags (parks) to consider an event that would not torment insects," she said, and added that consuming cockroaches presents health risks involving allergies and gastrointestinal distress.

Phelps said PETA had issues with hurting the insects.

"Even the smallest insect wants to be left alone," she said, noting that a stunt that encourages teens to cause death and pain to lifeforms would desensitize them to suffering in general.

Nevertheless, Phelps said PETA is "delighted that Six Flags made the compassionate decision."

As for why the cockroach-eating contest was stopped at the Valencia theme park specifically, Daniels said the company constantly reviews the entertainment offerings at all of the parks.

"While the cockroach stunt continues to be a huge hit with our guests, we made the decision to mix things up a little," she said, "specifically in L.A. where Halloween is big business and very competitive."

Daniels added that while the cockroach contest will no longer be held, she said that "something even better is in store at Magic Mountain for Fright Fest 2008."

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