On New Year’s Day, 100 PETA supporters of all ages descended on the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California to protest the SeaWorld float and educate parade attendees about the abusement park’s cruelty to orcas.

2014 rose parade seaworld protest

Among the protesters was 12-year-old Rose McCoy, an activist who had previously jumped the barricade at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York to protest SeaWorld’s float. Rose and 15 other protesters—including PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange and Gretchen Ryan, who is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair—peacefully sat in front of the SeaWorld float until they were dragged from the parade route and arrested. Nearly 100 other protesters carrying signs reading, “Boycott SeaWorld,” followed the float for the entire route, ensuring that attendees got the “SeaWorld Hurts Orcas” message.

I couldn’t imagine being separated from my mom and put in a cement box so people could pay to gawk at me, but that’s what SeaWorld does when it snatches baby orcas from their moms,” Rose says. “I hope families will realize the suffering in every single tiny tank at SeaWorld and stay a mile away.

2014 Rose Parade Protest

SeaWorld’s float depicts orcas leaping happy and free in the sea, but in reality, SeaWorld confines whales to tanks that, to them, are the size of a bathtub.
Sad Corky orca at SeaWorld
Orcas who would naturally swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild are trapped and forced to perform circus-style tricks in exchange for dead fish. Ironically, the faux orcas on SeaWorld’s float traveled farther on the Rose Parade route than the real orcas housed at SeaWorld do in an entire day.

2014 rose parade protest

Feeling inspired by Rose’s and the other protesters’ courage? You can stand up for orcas, too! Never go to any SeaWorld park, and urge your friends and family members to stay away as well. This weekend, whip up some awesome snacks, gather your friends, and have a Blackfish viewing party! This shocking documentary about captive whales is now available on Netflix.