A federal judge Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that argued five orcas should be freed from SeaWorld under the anti-slavery 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Judge Jeffrey Miller of the U.S. District Court in San Diego reasoned in his ruling that the amendment applies only to human slaves and not those that are performing whales. Shamuuuu-otion to dismiss!
Some were shocked Miller even agreed to consider the case, something PETA hailed earlier this week as a first-ever event.
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"The definition of slavery does not depend on the species of the slave any more than it depends on the race, gender, or ethnicity of the slave," read a PETA statement to Miller taking the case "under advisement. "The attempt to deny these intelligent, highly social, and sentient beings protection from slavery solely because of their species is the same kind of prejudice used to justify any enslavement, but prejudice should not be allowed to determine constitutional rights in this country."
The animal rights group's suit claimed orcas Tilikum, Katina, Kasatka, Ulises and Corky were being held against their wills in violation of the 13th Amendment. The reaction of PETA to Miller's dismissal Wednesday?
"Today, PETA's lawsuit on behalf of orcas confined to smotheringly small concrete tanks at Sea World, which asserted that a constitutional right should extend to all nonhuman animals, was dismissed in US District Court," reads a statement. "This historic first case for the orcas' right to be free under the 13th Amendment is one more step taken toward the inevitable day when all animals will be free from enslavement for human amusement. Today's decision does not change the fact that the orcas who once lived naturally wild and free, are today kept as slaves by SeaWorld. PETA will regroup and determine how to continue to work for the legal protection they deserve."
More chum for lawyers, one presumes.