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.

Joan Jett is a staunch animal rights advocate

Joan Jett is a staunch animal advocate and PETA supporter. Photo courtesy of PETA.

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


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Jess No Fwd Plz K.
Jessica K4 years ago

I was glad to see Ms. Jett on the float in Macy's Thanksgiving New York City parade. Thanks.

Dave and Rita Cross

Wonder why Macy's is allowing a Sea World float, a business that profits off of the cruelty to orcas!

William Reamy
William Reamy4 years ago

I think being kicked off the SD float will be much better publicity for Jett's cause than being on the float. By the way, SD's greatest claim to fame -- being south of ND.

Mary T.
Mary T4 years ago

Thanks for the article

Ans Weevers
Ans Weevers4 years ago

thank you Joan

kathy m.
kathy Mills4 years ago

Joan Jett...we love you EVEN MORE!!!!

Lori Hone
Lori Hone4 years ago

The cattlemen are idiots, but now that they've made everyone aware of their greed & stupidity there will be much discussion. Guess, we should thank them. Love Joan Jett and the Black Hearts!

Miles Foster4 years ago

I am minded of legendary Indian conservationist, Billy Arjan Singh, who decried the ‘domestic cattle in whose company no wild animal can survive for long’ and am just now reading Lawrence Anthony’s ‘Elephant Whisperer’ in which he recounts that cattle herders in South Africa even put out a ’contract’ on him because they wanted his planned wildlife reserve for themselves. It is by no means an isolated case and across Africa, India and Brazil cattle raising interests are devastating the environment and standing in the way of conservation. Anyone can all help by eating just a little less beef. I don’t argue we all need to cut out meat altogether like Ms Jett but what an advert she is for vegetarianism! She certainly gives the lie to the meat-eaters’ slanderous image of the pasty, anaemic and weakling vegetarian. Go Joan! I gave up meat years ago and almost immediately started to feel healthier than ever. I have never looked back and only wish I had done it sooner.