Why Did Joan Jett’s Animal Advocacy Get Her Kicked Off a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Float?
South Dakota cattlemen want nothing to do with rocker Joan Jett.
She’s a vegetarian, she’s an animal activist and she’s a supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Now, because of all that, she’s been banished from South Dakota’s float in the upcoming Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Yes, really. The cattle industry of South Dakota cared that much about Jett’s scheduled appearance on their state’s float that they lobbied Macy’s to remove her. Apparently, had she appeared, the world risked a devastating rip in the space-time continuum.
Macy’s assigned Joan Jett and her band, the Blackhearts, to this particular float after the performers South Dakota had originally expressed interest in said they were unavailable. Jett was more than willing. According to her representative, she has appeared in South Dakota many times over the years and likes the state very much. The Cattlemen’s Association, however, wasn’t impressed.
“When we learned that about Miss Jett, we were rightly concerned about her representing South Dakota and a state that is so heavily reliant on agriculture and livestock production to drive our economy,” Jodie Anderson of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association told CNN.
The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association “didn’t go looking for a fight,” according to president Cory Eich, but they felt they had to say something once the Jett-PETA affiliation came to their attention.
Sounds like the Cattlemen’s Association runs the state of South Dakota, doesn’t it? Don’t doubt it for a minute. This result was essentially pre-ordained.
Jett, for her part, is taking the high road. “I’ve decided to switch from South Dakota to another float because people’s political agendas were getting in the way of what should be a purely entertainment driven event,” said Jett in a statement. “I will remain focused on entertaining the millions of people watching, who will be celebrating a great American tradition.”
PETA sees this dust up for what it really represents.
“Thanks to South Dakota’s reactionary ranchers, people across the country have learned why Joan Jett supports PETA,” said PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews in a statement on the group’s website. “The meat trade can’t stand any scrutiny of its cruelty.”
This controversy makes you wonder, though: Are there no vegetarians, vegans or animal activists in that state who might feel appropriately represented by Joan Jett on their state’s float? Of course there are, but their voices don’t matter in this squabble.
Thanksgiving should be a day of gratitude that embraces all people, not just meat eaters. You don’t have to consume a turkey — or a cow or a pig or a fish — to celebrate this holiday.
Some might even say that those of us who eschew eating animals are particularly thankful on Thanksgiving Day. We’re thankful for the great strides made on behalf of innocent animals by activists like Joan Jett. We’re thankful they use their celebrity status to spread the word about animal cruelty within the meat industry. Are you listening, Butterball?
Relax, South Dakota cattlemen. You got Joan Jett off your float and you must be relieved. Thanks for raising a ruckus. All this excitement gave animal lovers a great opportunity to once again shine a light on the cattle industry’s fear that public knowledge of its practices will spur change.
One day, rest assured, change will come.
Photo credit: David Shankbone / Flickr