PETA is upset. (What’s new?)

Who are they pissed off at this time? The NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. Why?

Fans like to throw octopuses (or octopi if you prefer) onto the ice during Red Wings games. This tradition dates back to the 1950s when it took winning two best of seven playoff series to win the Stanley Cup. Eight wins — octopus. Get it?

Well PETA doesn’t get it, and they sent a letter to Red Wings ownership wanting fans to be fined up to $5000 and banned for life from Wings games for throwing these cephalopod mollusks (thanks wikipedia) onto the ice.

From the Detroit Free Press:

PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment’ — sent a letter today calling on the team and the arena to crack down on rules already in place to prohibit this practice,” the release said.

The letter, addressed to Wings president and CEO Chris Ilitch from PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, said in part: “Octopuses are intelligent, sensitive animals who feel pain, and it’s no more acceptable to kill one for such a disrespectful, frivolous, and stupid purpose than it is to throw a dead bear cub onto the ice during a Bruins game. … It’s no more acceptable to kill them for a decades-old tradition than it is to harm any other living beings.”

I, for one, am all for throwing dead bears onto the ice at Bruins games. But the NHL has banned the smuggling of large dead mammals into arenas. And if that saves just one cub’s life, then it is worth it.

We don’t know what these dead octopi could have done if they were only allowed to live. Maybe one could have found a cure for cancer? Maybe another could have selflessly thrown itself between JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald’s rifle? Oh wait, no. They would most likely be dead anyway.

More from the Detroit Free Press:

At Superior Fish Co. in Royal Oak, long the fans’ favored source of octopuses — or octopi, as some say — co-owner Kevin Dean said the sea creatures aren’t endangered, and they arrive at his store frozen and thoroughly “passed away” from the western Pacific Ocean, where they are plentiful.

They are dead anyway. And it’s not like millions of these things are thrown on the ice. It’s not a waste, PETA’s outrage is.