Friday, February 10, 2012


It's not likely to make a legal difference, but it's sure to generate discussions -- and that's the first step toward change.

The "it" is the lawsuit brought by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) against SeaWorld in behalf of killer whales. Five whales, or orcas, all involuntary residents of SeaWorld, are named as plaintiffs.

The killer whales "are treated like slaves for being forced to live in tanks and perform daily at the SeaWorld parks in California and Florida," PETA claims.

According to the Feb. 6 BBC story, the lawsuit "invokes the 13th Amendment to the constitution, which abolished "slavery or involuntary servitude" in the US.

While the whales are not expected to win their freedom, those involved with the case said they're happy it even made it into a courtroom. This may be the first time a US court has heard legal arguments over whether animals should enjoy the same constitutional protections as humans.

The five orca plaintiffs -- all captured in the wild -- were named: Tilikum and Katina, at SeaWorld Orlando; and Kasatka, Corky and Ulises, at SeaWorld San Diego.

The decision here is that these orcas and all non-human inhabitants of SeaWorld and other such marine parks should go free; that all such marine parks should be closed forever; that all animals living in captivity and forced to be displayed or to perform for human entertainment or profit be freed . . . that, in short, humans stop exploiting non-human animals.

Of course, alas, that decision is non-binding.

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