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PETA protests SeaWorld float in Rose Parade

PETA protesters gathered outside the Tournament of Roses headquarters in opposition of SeaWorld's orca-themed float.
November 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Come January, the Tournament of Roses Parade will once again roll through Pasadena. But on Thursday, Rose Parade protesters unhappy with a SeaWorld float lined the streets instead.

SeaWorld recently unveiled their orca-themed float on their website. Protesters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) say the entry doesn't float with them.

"People need to know about what goes on at the sea parks, and that if people knew, they wouldn't attend," said PETA protester Casey Tustin.

The PETA demonstrators, more than 50 of them, set up right in front of the Tournament of Roses headquarters.

PETA is blasting SeaWorld for sponsoring the float, pointing to the documentary "Blackfish" as evidence the theme park abuses its orcas.

"Between 1986 and 2010, 25 Orcas have died at the hands of SeaWorld, and not one from old age," said PETA spokesman Matt Bruce. "This is something to mourn, this is something to be ashamed of. It's not something to celebrate with a float in the Rose Parade."

PETA wants the Tournament of Roses to boot the SeaWorld float out of the parade. But parade officials are defending SeaWorld's entry.

"This year's float is designed to illustrate the wonder of sea life in a manner that can inspire millions to learn more about our oceans, which is consistent with SeaWorld's ongoing mission," David Gordon, with the Tournament of Roses Parade, said in a statement.

Meantime, SeaWorld is firing back, calling PETA an extremist organization more interested in publicity stunts than actually helping animals.

"This year SeaWorld San Diego has rescued more than 420 marine mammals. When an ill, orphaned or injured animal needs assistance in Southern California, it is SeaWorld's phone that rings, not PETA's," Fred Jacobs, vice president of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., said in a written statement.

It's a whale of a controversy that may not be over yet. Bruce says if the float makes it to the parade, "it remains to be seen" if PETA will do something at the parade.


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