'Blackfish' rising

'Blackfish' rising

PETA protests against SeaWorld’s treatment of captive orcas and its Rose Parade float

By André Coleman 11/05/2013

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In an effort to convince officials with the Tournament of Roses to cancel a SeaWorld-sponsored float in the 2014 Rose Parade over concerns about the popular marine park’s treatment of killer whales, members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) plan to stage a protest from noon to 1 p.m. today in front of Tournament House on Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena.  
On Monday, the group sent out an email calling for people to join the protest. The email also included a link to a 30-second YouTube video narrated by celebrity and animal rights activist Bob Barker, urging people not to visit the park in San Diego, which is one of three SeaWorld marine parks around the country and home to 10 orcas.

“Life in a cramped tank is nowhere for animals,” Barker says in the video. “They want to be with their families in the ocean. Many have died at SeaWorld after swimming in endless circles and performing dumb tricks day in and day out.”

The documentary “Blackfish,” directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, is a damning depiction of the treatment of orcas in captivity. In a statement reported by Variety and Rolling Stone, SeaWorld issued a statement, saying Cowperthwaite leaves out many of the good things that SeaWorld actually does.

“To promote its bias that killer whales should not be maintained in a zoological setting, the film paints a distorted picture that withholds from viewers key facts about SeaWorld — among them, that SeaWorld is one of the world’s most respected zoological institutions, that SeaWorld rescues, rehabilitates and returns to the wild hundreds of wild animals every year, and that SeaWorld commits millions of dollars annually to conservation and scientific research,” the statement reads.

A handful of PETA members — including one dressed in a whale costume — gathered two weeks ago along Sierra Madre Boulevard, near the Church of the Nazarene, to protest the float as Tournament officials crowned the latest Rose Queen, Ana Marie Costa, in an event held at the church. 

According to the PETA Web site, members of the group have tried to meet with parade organizers, but without success. 

For an expanded version of this story, visit pasadenaweekly.com.

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