Animal rights activists from PETA gathered outside Tournament of Roses headquarters in Pasadena Thursday to protest the inclusion of a SeaWorld float in the organization’s upcoming Rose Parade.
The planned float — which SeaWorld says shows the “beauty and majesty of the sea” — depicts a boy snorkeling in the ocean past a vibrant reef, with orca whales, dolphins and sea turtles swimming freely nearby.
PETA first came out against the float in October, claiming it misleadingly showed orca whales in a free environment.
“(The float) bears no resemblance whatsoever to an orca’s life of severe confinement at SeaWorld, where these magnificent animals are kept restricted to tiny concrete tanks, breaking their teeth on the underwater bars, and are forced to perform cheap, circus-style tricks,” the organization said in a news release Thursday.
“It ruins the Rose Parade’s happy image to allow SeaWorld to buy its way in to promote its much-criticized and cruel theme parks,” said PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders.
SeaWorld officials, in response, said they were dedicated to helping animals, citing their extensive marine mammal rescue history — with 420 rescues in Southern California this year alone — as evidence.
“While PETA is protesting a parade float in Pasadena, just 100 miles south in San Diego, SeaWorld team members are caring for beached animals,” said SeaWorld Vice President of Communications Fred Jacobs.
“When an ill, orphaned or injured animal needs assistance in Southern California, it is SeaWorld’s phone that rings, not PETA’s,” Jacobs said.
The annual parade is scheduled for New Year’s Day.
KTLA is a media partner of the Rose Parade and will air the event live on Jan. 1. The parade will also be streamed live on KTLA.com. More coverage is available here.