SeaWorld Protesters Crash Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Last Thanksgiving, spurred by the documentary Blackfish, 12-year-old Rose McCoy hopped a fence at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and staged a solo protest over the inclusion of the SeaWorld float as she chanted "Boycott SeaWorld!" and waved around a sign.

This year's parade saw the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) pulling a McCoy, and also jumping a fence to protest.

Members of Peta, who were joined by McCoy, were able to get past the barricades that separates onlookers from the parade, and waived around signs that read "SeaWorld Hurts Orcas." Police were forced to take the protesters away from the parade route.

See also: Seven Reasons SeaWorld's Bigger Orca Tanks Project Is a Joke

McCoy was also part of a protest during last year's Rose Parade in California, which also featured a SeaWorld float. Rose, along with 16 others, were arrested on charges of interfering with a special event when they attempted to stop the SeaWorld float from advancing through the parade route.

The tactic seemed to work, as SeaWorld no longer appears on the list of those participating in the upcoming Rose Parade.

Following Thursday's Thanksgiving Day Parade protest, PETA released a statement from now 13-year-old Rose.

"SeaWorld can try to change its ugly image by putting floats in parades, but everyone knows that orcas are suffering in its tiny concrete tanks," Rose says in the release. "I hope people who saw me or hear about my story will join us in refusing to go to SeaWorld as long as orcas and other marine mammals are imprisoned there."

SeaWorld has been on the defensive ever since the release of Blackfish, a popular documentary that exposes the dangers of keeping orcas in captivity. The documentary features footage and interviews from former SeaWorld trainers who speak of their regret over harming the animals.

Backlash over SeaWorld's treatment of killer whales via the film has brought upon the wrath of animal rights folks, animal lovers, and celebrities, including Howard Stern, Willie Nelson, and classic rock band band Heart.

The film and subsequent protests have also seemed to put a dent in SeaWorld's bottom line. Attendance at SeaWorld parks has dropped, sponsors have cut ties with the park, and the company was named one of the most hated in the U.S. in a Consumerist poll.

"At least 25 orcas have died in U.S. SeaWorld facilities since 1986," PETA says through a press release Thursday. "And not one died of old age. PETA -- whose motto reads, in part, that 'animals are not ours to use for entertainment' -- is calling on SeaWorld to fund the creation of coastal sanctuaries where the orcas can live in as natural a setting as possible."

These so-called sanctuaries were denied a vote by shareholders by the company in February.

Earlier this month, two PETA activists staged a naked protest outside Macy's in New York

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph