Sixteen PETA protesters were arrested at the Rose Parade on Wednesday, a majority of them for trying to stop the SeaWorld-themed float. Riot police escorted the float as it made its way through the parade, passing multiple planned protest spots along the route.
PETA protests took to the street in an attempt to bring added attention to alleged animal abuse on the behalf of SeaWorld. The recent CNN broadcast of the documentary film Blackfish brought attention to SeaWorld's treatment of orcas to the forefront, forcing SeaWorld to take out a full-page ad in some major newspapers, firing back at the allegations. SeaWorld disputed the claims in the ad, whining that it was "digital harassment." SeaWorld boasts in the letter of its "$70 million killer whale habitats and millions of dollars annually in support of these facilities."
The"Blackfish"documentary debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in January of last year. The film documents the captivity of an orca involved in the deaths of three individuals. The film centers on the capture and abuse of a male whale named Tilikum and the treatment that could be responsible for his violent behavior. SeaWorld claimed the film is "inaccurate and misleading and, regrettably, exploits tragedy."