by Jack Minor –
An animal rights organization has filed a lawsuit claiming that the 13th Amendment which outlaws slavery applies to animals as well as humans.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a suit in the U.S. District Court in Southern California on behalf of Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka and Ulises, five killer whales at SeaWorld locations in Orlando, Fl. and San Diego, Calif.
According to the suit, the whales are asking to be freed from slavery. “In this case of first impression, five wild-captured orcas named Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka, and Ulises (collectively, the “Plaintiffs”), seek a declaration that they are held by the Defendants in violation of Section One of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude.”
The suit bases its arguments on the 13th Amendment applying to animals as well as people. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
PETA argues that just as blacks were removed from their homeland and forced to serve as slaves in America, the killer whales at SeaWorld were likewise removed from their home in Iceland.
According to PETA, the Supreme Court has ruled the 13th Amendment does not just apply to black slaves. “the Supreme Court has repeatedly declared that the Thirteenth Amendment is not so limited. Because the Amendment forbids any form of slavery, it embodies a principle that can be (and over the years has been) defined and expanded by common law to address morally unjust conditions of bondage and forced service existing anywhere in the United States.”
The suit then goes on to say that, based on that expanded interpretation, SeaWorld is holding the whales “in slavery in violation of Section One of the Thirteenth Amendment.”
PETA’s slavery comparison has drawn the ire of a black conservative group. Shelby Emmett, a spokesman for Project 21, said “PETA’s comparison of SeaWorld and slavery insults the remains of hundreds of thousands of slaves who are buried across the American South.”
Emmett continued, “To equate performing killer whales with human beings who suffered the worst possible exploitation short of actual genocide makes the jaw drop. Half of me wants to laugh. The other half wonders if I have been whisked from Earth to another planet.”
PETA says they believe the public and law are ready to declare humans and animals equal under the law. “The public is ready, the orcas are definitely ready, and PETA believes that the law is on our side.”
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