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Court to decide if SeaWorld whales are illegal 'slaves'

Posted by on Feb. 8, 2012 at 5:48 AM
  • 38 Replies

A California federal court is to decide for the first time in US history whether amusement park animals are protected by the same constitutional rights as humans.

The issue arises from a lawsuit filed by rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a San Diego court on behalf of five orcas named Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka and Ulises.

The whales perform water acrobatics at the SeaWorld amusement parks in San Diego and in Orlando, Florida.

PETA argues that continuing the whales' "employment" at SeaWorld violates the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits slavery.

District Judge Jeffrey Miller heard arguments in the complaint Monday and reviewed the response from SeaWorld, which asked that the lawsuit be dismissed. His ruling is expected to come later.

The suit, filed in October 2011, asked that the court declare that the orcas are "held in slavery and/or involuntary servitude by defendants in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

"It's a new frontier in civil rights," said Jeff Kerr, PETA general counsel, who described the hearing as a "historic day."

"Slavery does not depend on the species of the slave any more than it depends on race, gender or ethnicity," he argued. "Coercion, degradation and subjugation characterize slavery and these orcas have endured all three."

The complaint says the five killer whales are represented by their "friends" at PETA, which include three former killer whale trainers, a marine biologist and the founder of an organization that seeks to protect orcas.

The complaint demands that the court "appoint a legal guardian to effectuate plaintiffs' transfer from defendants' facilities to a suitable habitat in accordance with each plaintiff's individual needs and best interests."

SeaWorld's motion to dismiss argues that, the aendment "only protects people, not animals, from slavery and involuntary servitude."

The courts lack authority to extend the amendment to animals, which could "open a veritable Pandora's Box of inescapable problems and absurd consequences," SeaWorld argued in motion to dismiss last year.

The case is unprecedented not because no laws cover the issue but because PETA's claims "are so baseless that no party has ever wasted the time, energy and expense of any court in making such claims in a lawsuit," SeaWorld argued.

In 2010, Tilikum drowned a trainer after a show in Orlando and was kept in "complete isolation" in a small concrete tank afterward, PETA said.

SeaWorld denied any implications of cruelty to animals, instead accusing PETA of trying to get attention for itself with its lawsuit.

"While PETA continued to engage in this publicity stunt, SeaWorld San Diego was returning four rescued and rehabilitated sea lions to the wild," SeaWorld said in its response.

"SeaWorld remains the standard for zoological stewardship of marine animals and we reject any challenge to the conditions and quality of care for these remarkable animals," SeaWorld said.

"The welfare of our whales is enshrined in numerous federal and state laws, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Animal Welfare Act."

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.b59c44b3fadf0cdbed8b56f504caf0e5.481&show_article=1

by on Feb. 8, 2012 at 5:48 AM
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Replies (1-10):
punky3175
by on Feb. 8, 2012 at 6:09 AM
I posted this yesterday. :-D
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angi07
by Member on Feb. 8, 2012 at 6:13 AM
I hate peta but I don't think sea world really cares about anything but themselves.
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acrogodess
by Silver Member on Feb. 8, 2012 at 6:21 AM
1 mom liked this
I think this is a joke and makes light of the issue of actual human slavery. human trafficking is very real and rather than focusing on what we can do to stop the sex trade or so called multiple "wives" we are focusing on a save the whales campaign to put a bandaid on the real issue in life. Fact is with many animals these days, that sadly the only one left will eventually be the ones in captivity. Sure, save the whales. Set them free from all they know, so that they can beach themselves or end up in a can of tuna. After all, they worked hard to acknowledge the whales constitutional right to life, liberty and they pursuit of happiness...
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UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Feb. 8, 2012 at 8:49 AM
1 mom liked this

I'm sure if those whales had a choice they'd rather be living free and in the wild.

Happymamax2
by Silver Member on Feb. 8, 2012 at 9:23 AM
2 moms liked this
Quoting UpSheRises:

I'm sure if those whales had a choice they'd rather be living free and in the wild.



I agree. This is a tough issue. The older I get, the more uncomfortable I am at places like the zoo, or sea world. Animals in captivity for our amusement seems wrong...
jehosoba84
by Jenn on Feb. 8, 2012 at 9:25 AM

 This is a bad bad slippery slope.  How do they define 'slaves'?  Is seaworld being targeted because these animals perform? what if it were converted to an aquatic zoo, of sorts? Would it be ok then? And if not, what about zoo animals? are they all slaves too? I tell ya, the seals put on quite a show for us last time we went. The monkeys were showoffs too. And what about my pet pird? He's in a cage. If I teach him a trick to show company, does that make him a slave? 

Animals do not deserve the same rights as humans. Charge them with cruelty to animals. Is that not enough?

momversuswild
by on Feb. 8, 2012 at 10:14 AM
2 moms liked this

Right, because animals are people too, but unborn humans aren't.

Stephanie329
by Ruby Member on Feb. 8, 2012 at 12:36 PM
1 mom liked this
I agree, I absolutely hate it. After what happened here in Ohio and all those exotic animals had to be put down....

Quoting Happymamax2:

Quoting UpSheRises:

I'm sure if those whales had a choice they'd rather be living free and in the wild.




I agree. This is a tough issue. The older I get, the more uncomfortable I am at places like the zoo, or sea world. Animals in captivity for our amusement seems wrong...
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UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Feb. 8, 2012 at 1:36 PM


Quoting jehosoba84:

 This is a bad bad slippery slope.  How do they define 'slaves'?  Is seaworld being targeted because these animals perform? what if it were converted to an aquatic zoo, of sorts? Would it be ok then? And if not, what about zoo animals? are they all slaves too? I tell ya, the seals put on quite a show for us last time we went. The monkeys were showoffs too. And what about my pet pird? He's in a cage. If I teach him a trick to show company, does that make him a slave? 

Animals do not deserve the same rights as humans. Charge them with cruelty to animals. Is that not enough?

I'm pretty sure PETA believes all undomesticated animals remian free and in the wild. They don't support zoo's for sure.

Happymamax2
by Silver Member on Feb. 8, 2012 at 1:40 PM
Quoting jehosoba84:

 This is a bad bad slippery slope.  How do they define 'slaves'?  Is seaworld being targeted because these animals perform? what if it were converted to an aquatic zoo, of sorts? Would it be ok then? And if not, what about zoo animals? are they all slaves too? I tell ya, the seals put on quite a show for us last time we went. The monkeys were showoffs too. And what about my pet pird? He's in a cage. If I teach him a trick to show company, does that make him a slave? 


Animals do not deserve the same rights as humans. Charge them with cruelty to animals. Is that not enough?



Animals deserve respect. Especially animals we keep to entertain ourselves. Humans are egomaniacs!
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