If you think it’s scary talking to your teacher about dissection alternatives, imagine taking on one of the biggest animal exploiters in history—SeaWorld! That’s just what 12-year-old Rose McCoy of New York City has done—traveling from coast to coast to make sure SeaWorld knows that tearing orcas away from their families and trapping them in barren concrete tanks is wrong. Rose has dedicated herself to ensuring that SeaWorld’s cruelty stays in the headlines, and we’re super-excited to have her share her story with you! Read about why Rose hates SeaWorld, and then take action!

<3 Rachelle

Rose McCoy Pasadena Court

My name is Rose McCoy and I am 12 years old. I’m sure if you’re like me, you don’t want to see animals hurt, especially for the amusement of others, and you were outraged at the horrors of SeaWorld (or as I want to see it renamed, “SlaveWorld”) exposed in the terrific documentary Blackfish.–If you haven’t seen Blackfish yet, it’s airing again this Sunday, February 9th, on CNN, and is also available on Netflix!

The film reveals that some orcas, such as Tilikum, were taught to perform the tricks they do at shows through food deprivation, which means that trainers don’t feed an orca until the animal does what they want. Blackfish also explains that orcas are much healthier and lead much longer lives in the wild, while SeaWorld often reports it the other way around.

Lolita whale
Terrell C. Newby, Ph. D. 

Baby orcas are routinely taken away from their mothers, and orcas are frequently housed with other, incompatible orcas, leading them to cut each other with their teeth.

Orcas in captivity hurt humans, too. Some trainers have been killed by orcas who have become frustrated and aggressive because of a lack of mental stimulation and because they have been deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them.

So what did we do to fight back? Well, some of us decided to interrupt a parade.

2014 Rose Parade SeaWorld Protest

On January 1, I joined 15 other people who walked past the barriers at the Rose Parade and sat in front of SeaWorld’s hypocritical float that depicted a family of orcas in their natural habitat while promoting a place that imprisons orcas in a facility that is in no way like their wild home.

While we did this, hundreds more people who were spread out along the route did their part by leafleting, holding signs, or talking to the media about why SeaWorld shouldn’t have had a presence at such a wonderful event—or anywhere for that matter. One man even had a remote-controlled miniature blimp that read, “SeaWorld Hurts Orcas.” The 16 of us were arrested and booked and just this week appeared in court, where we learned that we wouldn’t be charged.

Rose McCoy and the 15 other activists arrested for blocking SeaWorld's float at the 2014 Rose Parade in Pasadena.

Rose McCoy and the 15 other activists arrested for blocking SeaWorld’s float at the 2014 Rose Parade in Pasadena.

Now it’s your turn. I’m urging you to do what you can. Every action counts.

What can you do?

  • First, never give any of your money to SeaWorld or any place that exploits animals for entertainment.
  • Second, tell your friends and family about why they shouldn’t go to animal-themed amusement parks (let’s just call them abusement parks), circuses, or zoos.
  • Third, attend a local protest against SeaWorld. Sign up to get text-message updates about protests near you!

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I want to thank you for reading about my experience, and if the orcas could thank you, I’m sure they would. Let’s save the orcas!

—Rose McCoy