South Korea was criticized by Animal rights activists for using goldfish in harm's way as part of elaborate security measures for the Group of 20 summit opening Thursday.
South Korean authorities announced that, in addition to deploying thousands of armed police, they plan to place six goldfish in the restrooms' water supply to ensure purity.
US-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) opposed Wednesday that goldfish suffer pain in much the same way as dogs and cats.
"Protecting world leaders is very serious, but so is protecting animals who feel pain just as people do," said PETA's executive vice president, Tracy Reiman.
"There are a variety of modern scientific methods that would better protect world leaders and keep fish from enduring agonizing deaths from contaminated water," she wrote in a letter to South Korean authorities. A spokesperson for the G20 convention center defended the decision, telling AFP that the fish "symbolize an eco-friendly water policy" with used water recycled for the bathrooms.