Vernon Native Heads to Court for Protesting SeaWorld at Rose Parade

For Immediate Release:
January 28, 2014

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Vernon, Conn. – When SeaWorld’s float hit the Rose Parade on January 1, it was met by a group of PETA supporters—including Vernon, Conn., native Christopher Merrow—who sat down in front of it in a peaceful protest against SeaWorld’s abuse of orcas. The protesters, holding posters that read, “Boycott SeaWorld,” and wearing “SeaWorld Hurts Orcas” T-shirts, were dragged from the parade route and arrested, and Merrow will head to court in Pasadena, Calif., on February 3.

Christopher Merrow grew up in Vernon, Conn., where he graduated from Rockville High School. He worked as a booking and promotions manager at The Space, a music-and-arts venue in Hamden, Conn., before heading to Los Angeles to join PETA’s youth division, peta2, as a tour and event manager.

Through his work with peta2’s concert outreach crew, Merrow traveled nonstop for three years, visiting 49 states. He toured with animal-friendly festivals and bands, including Warped Tour, Rise Against, Never Shout Never, Mayday Parade, and Silverstein, staffing and designing peta2 information booths, talking to thousands of showgoers, and asking them to pledge to be fur-free or to go vegan.

Thanks in part to the runaway popularity of the documentary Blackfish, which exposed how orcas suffer physically and psychologically in the tiny concrete tanks at SeaWorld, PETA and peta2 have been ramping up their campaigns against the theme park in recent months. Merrow says his participation in the Rose Parade protest, which reached millions of people through TV, Internet, social-media, and newspaper coverage, “meant the world to me and I was honored to be a part of it.”

Merrow, 27, lives in Los Angeles.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind