By Michael Martinez and Carolyn Sung
(CNN) — Rock star Joan Jett was removed from a parade float representing South Dakota in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade after ranchers protested her appearance, saying she’s a vegetarian and a critic of their livestock production.
Jett is a supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the world’s largest animal rights group that promotes a vegetarian diet and condemns factory farms and ranches.
“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,” Jett said in a statement Saturday. “I will remain focused on entertaining the millions of people watching, who will be celebrating a great American tradition.”
The trade group for ranchers in South Dakota complained about Jett’s placement on the state’s float for the New York parade, CNN affiliate KEVN reported.
“So, of course, 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 the station.
A Macy’s spokesman said Jett and her Blackhearts band will be moved to another float, and another undetermined performer will take Jett’s place on the South Dakota float, the affiliate said.
A PETA leader said the controversy reflected what the group deems as problems in the cattle industry.
“Thanks to South Dakota’s reactionary ranchers, people across the country have learned why Joan Jett supports PETA. The meat trade can’t stand any scrutiny of its cruelty,” PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews said in a statement.
Many celebrities who support PETA have appeared on previous Macy’s parade floats or performed without controversy, PETA spokeswoman Moira Colley said. They include “Glee” actress Lea Michele, Jay McGuiness of “The Wanted”, singer Jay Sean, Alan Cumming and Carrie Underwood, Colley said.
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