South Dakota officials have spoken out against plans for Joan Jett to perform on their state's float during the MACy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City due to her views on animal rights.
The rocker and her band the Blackhearts have been selected to appear on the float promoting South Dakota and the Mount Rushmore National Memorial during the beloved annual event later this month (Nov13).
However, her longtime vegetarianism and outspoken support of animal-rights charities has rankled some residents in the state, where cattle farming is a key local industry.
Senator Larry Rhoden says, "Her agenda through Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) does not represent South Dakota. The organisation is obviously very anti-ag (agriculture). They are very misinformed on the ag industry and the animal ag industry."
Jodie Anderson from the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association adds, "South Dakota Cattlemen's Association is very concerned that the South Dakota float would be featuring a prominent vegetarian on the Thanksgiving Parade float. We hope that future floats would support not only the tourism industry but also agriculture."
However, Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen, who picked Jett to perform, is standing by his decision, saying, "For us, it's not about the talent on the float. It's about having Mount Rushmore featured before three million live viewers... more than 100 million people around the world who are seeing that float.
"She holds views that I don't, but there are a lot of people who love her as an artist. It puts the focus on Mount Rushmore and South Dakota."
Previous artists chosen to perform on the Mount Rushmore float include Don MCLean and Neil Diamond.
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