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SeaWorld To Keep Float In Thanksgiving Day Parade Despite Protest From PETA

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Macy's and SeaWorld have been challenged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals over a float planned for this year's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

As WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported, PETA charges that SeaWorld's "A Sea Of Surprises" float with penguins, kelp and whales is part of its crisis management after the documentary "Blackfish" gave the theme park a black eye.

The documentary accuses the theme park of mistreating killer whales. PETA said it's received 78,000 emails asking that the float be pulled from the parade.

SeaWorld To Keep Float In Thanksgiving Day Parade Despite Protest From PETA

"They remove them forcibly and violently from their pods, or their families, stick them in a cement tank where all they have to do is chew on the cement bars, breaking their own teeth and banging their heads into the side of the enclosure," PETA's Lindsey Wright told Diamond. "SeaWorld is nothing more than a cruel prison for animals."

Wright said 25 orcas have died there of disease since 1986.

"So a float that celebrates that cruelty to animals is really totally out of place at this family-friendly event," she told Diamond.

In a statement, SeaWorld said the accusations are unfounded. Macy's also said it's keeping the float in the 87th annual parade as part of its intention to offer a range of entertaining elements without judgment, endorsement or agenda.

Last week, a different controversy over the parade erupted over rocker Joan Jett's planned performance on the South Dakota tourism float. Jett is a vegetarian and a PETA ally, which upset some ranchers from the state. Jett will be performing on a different float.

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