Pressure to ban SeaWorld float from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy’s, Inc. is once again feeling the Blackfish backlash.

Last year, Alec Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria, wrote a letter to Macy’s chief executive officer Terry Lundgren urging him to block SeaWorld’s appearance in the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

As New Yorkers and new parents, we were disappointed to learn that SeaWorld might appear in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Like most parents, we hope our child learns from the work of previous generations to minimize human and animal suffering. Thanks to the documentary Blackfish, which has drawn millions of viewers since it debuted on CNN [in 2013], the public knows that SeaWorld is a cruel prison for whales. At least 35 orcas and dozens of dolphins have died prematurely at SeaWorld parks, which should not be celebrated with a giant Shamu float parading down 34th Street. Please don’t be a part of SeaWorld’s crisis-management plan. We join thousands of other PETA members in urging you to cancel SeaWorld’s part in the parade.

PETA also mounted a letter writing campaign in a bid to appeal to the iconic retailer. Lat week, two painted, but naked members of the animal rights group protested SeaWorld’s involvement in a “cramped bathtub.”  It’s seaworldofhurt campaign chronicles the company’s foibles.

Still, Seaworld’s “Waves of Conservation” float, which is described as “marking 50 years of entertaining, educating and inspiring millions of guests to help conserve ocean life, is a go on Thursday.

The Blackfish effect appears to have been profound on the marine entertainment company. Revenue, profit and attendance have all been on the slide.

“Clearly 2014 has been a challenging year, but I am confident we are taking the necessary steps to address our near term challenges and position the Company to deliver value over the long term,” Jim Atchison , CEO and President of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. said in the company’s third-quarter financial statement released earlier this month. “We are executing a cost savings plan that is expected to deliver approximately $50 million of annual cost savings by the end of 2015. At the same time, we are adjusting our attraction and marketing plans to address our immediate top-line concerns. While we recognize that we are in the early stages of these initiatives, we firmly believe these actions will enable us to overcome the current challenges we face and enhance our competitive standing.”

“The parade has never taken on, promoted or otherwise engaged in social commentary, political debate, or other forms of advocacy, no matter how worthy,” Macy’s spokesman Orlando Veras told Reuters in a statement.

Meanwhile, SeaWorld spokeswoman Aimée Jeansonne Becka defended the company. In a statement, she said: “SeaWorld’s animals are well cared for and their health and well-being is a responsibility we take extremely seriously. We are proud of our world-class standards of care.”

Photo PETA

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