13-Year-Old Jumps Barricade Again To Protest SeaWorld
SeaWorld made waves again on Thursday at the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The company's float was besieged by animal advocates protesting its captive orca whale program.
As the float trundled down the streets of New York, bystanders from the animal welfare group PETA held up signs protesting the company. Four people, including 13-year-old Rose McCoy, even jumped the barricade.
McCoy said to television journalist Jane Velez-Mitchel after the incident, "It's a shame that a great New York tradition such as the Macy's Parade which is supposed to be a family-friendly event has a business like SeaWorld in it that tears families apart, tears orca babies away from their mothers."
Velez-Mitchell told The Dodo, "This video is already spreading like wildfire. Animal lovers everywhere need to become the media and speak for our voiceless fellow creatures."
The broadcasters who were announcing floats in the parade made no comment on SeaWorld's float as it passed by.
Twitter erupted with users expressing their outrage at the float's appearance.
Some pointed out that captive orcas would have to swim dozens of laps in their small tanks in order to travel the length of the parade's marching route.
The scene was a throwback to last year, when activists protested the float as it trundled down the city's streets. McCoy jumped the barricade as well last year, getting arrested as a result. A similar protest was seen at last year's Rose Parade, when 19 people were arrested for protesting SeaWorld's float. This year, SeaWorld bowed out of the Rose Parade.
The pushback against SeaWorld is largely in response to its practice of keeping cetaceans, or whales and dolphins, in tanks. Animal advocates argue that keeping cetaceans in captivity causes both psychosis and physical ailments.
While SeaWorld denies these claims, public opinion has been weighing on the company's profits. Earlier this month, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. released its third quarter earnings, reporting a 28 percent decline in net income and that park attendance was down to 8.4 million visitors from 8.9 million a year ago.
Meanwhile, the company's corporate partnerships are taking a hit - Southwest Airlines, Virgin America, Panama Jack, and other companies have all cut ties with the park. Many have attributed the company's financial woes to the documentary "Blackfish," which exposed disturbing animal welfare practices at its three parks.