Free Willy! Protesters Want Shamu Out of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

And Joan Jett gets booted from South Dakota float for being a vegetarian

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Hiroko Masuike / Getty Images

A balloon in the literal sense, a silver Rabbit designed by Koons floats through Times Square during the 81st annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 22, 2007.

Retail chain Macy’s is underwater with animal activists over two of its Thanksgiving Day Parade floats.

The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is staging a protest at the Nov. 28 parade, over the company’s decision to keep a float for SeaWorld, which activists accuse of treating whales poorly. Ranchers  also had singer and vegetarian Joan Jett booted from the South Dakota tourism float for not aligning with the meat-centric state, the Associated Press reports.

The iconic parade traditionally evades political wrangling, which is why Macy’s said the show must go on.

“The parade has never taken on, promoted or otherwise engaged in social commentary, political debate or other forms of advocacy,” the retailer said in a statement this week.

The Orlando-based aquatic theme park has come under fire following the release of “Blackfish,” a documentary that focuses on SeaWorld’s captivity of whales and accuses trainers of treating them badly. The document argues the poor treatment ultimately led to the death of three individuals. SeaWorld maintains that the allegations have “absolutely no basis.”

Activists — including actor Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria — sent Macy’s more than 80,000 emails demanding the removal of the float. Meanwhile, the South Dakota Cattleman’s Association criticized the state for featuring Jett atop its float since the vegetarian and animal activist didn’t symbolize the state’s top product.

Jett will be moved to another float while SeaWorld plans to swim through the controversy.

[AP]

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