PETA has announced that it will stage a demonstration at the parade, in lieu of a Sea World float that promotes Shamu the Whale. PETA organizers are citing a documentary that was released earlier this year that revealed the deadly conditions that the Orca killer whales face at the Sea World Aquarium.
Download audio file
New York City’s annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade attracts thousands of spectators each year, and is typically meant to be an event free of politics and controversy. Instead, the event focuses on the display of dozens of oversized balloons ranging from Snoopy to Hello Kitty to Papa Smurf. But despite the long-standing commitment to bringing family fun and nothing else, Macy’s is facing heat from an animal rights organization for one of its displays. Following the release of a documentary earlier this year called ‘Blackfish,’ which revealed the cruel treatment of orcas at Sea World amusement parks, animal rights advocates from PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, announced that they will stage a demonstration at this year’s parade, if Macy’s doesn't go ahead and remove its float of Shamu the Whale, the fictional character who represents the symbolic orca at each SeaWorld park. Ashley Burns, a campaign specialist at PETA, said while her organization doesn't have exact plans for the parade just yet, she hopes that Macy’s will go ahead and remove the float in order to avoid a potential protest.
“We are asking Macy’s to remove a planned Sea World float from their Thanksgiving Day parade because the float is deceptive in the extreme. It shows orcas with their families leaping in a magnificent sea, which is something that Sea World deprives them of.” - Ashley Burns, a campaign specialist at PETA.
Burns went on to site the 2013 documentary titled Blackfish, which focused on the cruel treatment of orcas throughout Sea World amusement parks. Burns said it was after this documentary that her organization decided that Sea World’s orcas have no place in a family friendly event.
“They deprive them of their natural environment, they rip them violently from their families, and so this float is really just celebrating animal abuse and is not appropriate for a family friendly event and really not in step with how the public feels about Sea World.” - Ashley Burns, a campaign specialist at PETA.
Macy’s has so far decided that it will go through with plans to show off the Sea World float, much to the dismay of PETA activists. Amy Kule, the executive producer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, said that she’s not focusing on the controversy; her goal is to make sure that each float attracts an audience and entertains the general public.
“For us there is no controversy, our goal really is to entertain, and that is [Sea World’s] goal as well. What we wanted to do it produce one of the most beautiful floats that we can and I think we achieved that very well.” - Amy Kule, the executive producer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
The 87th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is scheduled to take place on Thanksgiving next Thursday.