Do animals have the same constitutional rights as humans? According to a U.S. federal judge, they most certainly do not.
After People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched a lawsuit against SeaWorld, accusing them of violating the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery, judge Jeffrey Miller threw it out. The judge ruled that orcas do not have the same constitutional rights as people.
The lawsuit was filed in the US district court of San Diego, with five of SeaWorld’s performing orcas listed as plaintiffs: Katina, Tilikum, Corky, Kasatka, and Ulises.
In his ruling, judge Jeffrey Miller wrote “The only reasonable interpretation of the 13th amendment’s plain language is that it applies to persons and not to non-persons such as orcas.”
David Steinberg, a law professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, said the lawsuit is “demeaning to the integrity and humanity of people who were owned as slaves.”
That’s actually a pretty good point, and while I think it’s ridiculous that animals are still held in captivity for our entertainment and forced out of their natural habitats to dance around in a tiny pool, putting whales on court documents as plaintiffs is equally ridiculous.
I wouldn’t mind taking out a court case against people who are so boring they find entertainment in a whale jumping out of water over and over, but that’s neither here nor there.
Is PETA helping or hurting the cause by taking such extreme measures? Would you like to see places like SeaWorld not keep whales in captivity?