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Pressure Builds Against SeaWorld Float in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

SeaWorld Float Shows Orcas in the Wild - Not Representative of Reality
SeaWorld Float Shows Orcas in the Wild - Not Representative of Reality
November 26, 2013

NEW YORK – Despite an online petition with more than 80,000 signatures and opposition from several animal-welfare groups and celebrities, SeaWorld's float will be part of the lineup in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

SeaWorld has an image problem, due in large part to the recent documentary film "Blackfish" – which has been viewed by millions in theaters as well as on CNN.

Samantha Berg is a former SeaWorld trainer, who appeared in the film.

"A lot of people in the general public have realized what the truth is about what goes on behind the scenes at SeaWorld,” she says. "And they get that it is in fact a circus environment, that this is not real education and conservation."

Berg says the float planned for the parade by SeaWorld is made of steel, foam and plastic and depicts wild sea life – a far cry, she says, from the reality of animals kept in barren tanks at SeaWorld.

The animal-rights group PETA plans to protest outside of the building where the floats are being assembled today in Bergen County, New Jersey.

Berg says orcas at SeaWorld are denied everything that is natural to them in the wild.

She points out they are kept in tiny tanks and forced to perform tricks for years on end. In the wild, they swim from 80 to 100 miles per day and live life spans similar to those of humans – but die much younger in captivity.

She calls the SeaWorld float a Disney-fied version of reality.

"It's embarrassing that they would ask the American public to swallow that version of reality, given the information that's out there," she says.

Berg adds that a CNN poll released after "Blackfish" aired on the network asked respondents if they would take their children to SeaWorld and 86 percent answered no.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - NY