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On New Year’s morning, as SeaWorld’s widely criticized float prepared to enter the Rose Parade, PETA supporters wearing “SeaWorld Hurts Orcas” T-shirts—led by 12-year-old Rose McCoy, who jumped the barricade at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to protest SeaWorld’s float—ran onto the parade route and sat down in front of the float to make the point that SeaWorld needs to stop imprisoning orcas and depriving them of all that is natural and important to them. She and 18 other protesters—including PETA Senior Vice President and lifelong Pasadena resident Lisa Lange and Gretchen Ryan, who is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair—were dragged from the parade route and arrested. Nearly 100 other protesters carrying signs reading, “Boycott SeaWorld,” followed the float for the entire route, ensuring that attendees got the “SeaWorld Hurts Orcas” message.
Security was noticeably heightened for the SeaWorld float, and PETA’s 13-foot blimp reading, “SeaWorld Tortures Orcas,” was kept grounded.
“I couldn’t imagine being separated from my mom and put in a cement box so people could pay to gawk at me, but that’s what SeaWorld does when it snatches baby orcas from their moms,” Rose says. “I hope families will realize the suffering in every single tiny tank at SeaWorld and stay a mile away.”
SeaWorld attendance has been plummeting since the hit documentary film Blackfish premiered showing how the orcas at SeaWorld suffer physically and psychologically from the constant deprivation of captivity. Screen legend Cloris Leachman—the grand marshal of the 2008 Tournament of Roses—publicly urged the Rose Parade to give SeaWorld’s float the boot, and in recent weeks, Willie Nelson, the Barenaked Ladies, Heart, Martina McBride, Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon, and Trisha Yearwood have all pulled out of scheduled performances at SeaWorld.
For more information about SeaWorld, please visit PETA’s website SeaWorldOfHurt.com.