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Backlash for SeaWorld Float in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

PHOTO: The SeaWorld parade float depicts orcas in the wild. Critics say it isn't representative of SeaWorld's handling of the animals in captivity.
PHOTO: The SeaWorld parade float depicts orcas in the wild. Critics say it isn't representative of SeaWorld's handling of the animals in captivity.
November 28, 2013

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

SeaWorld has an image problem that’s been highlighted in the recent documentary film "Blackfish."

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 SeaWorld’s float is made of steel, foam and plastic and depicts wild sea life, which she says is a far cry from the reality of marine animals kept in barren tanks at SeaWorld.

She contends orcas at SeaWorld are denied their natural habitat at the park, kept instead in tiny tanks and forced to perform for years on end.

In the wild, she points out, they swim from 80 to 100 miles per day and have lifespans 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 says a CNN poll released after "Blackfish" aired on the network asked respondents if they would take their kids to SeaWorld, and 86 percent answe

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA