PETA sues SeaWorld for “enslaving” killer whales

posted at 1:20 pm on February 8, 2012 by Tina Korbe

If you’ve ever wanted to watch killer whales perform for your benefit, book your trip to SeaWorld now! If the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has its way, those poor whale slaves won’t entertain tourists much longer …

This story serves up too many fantastic quotes to ignore. Like one commenter on the case, I’m not surprised; it is PETA we’re talking about, after all. Yet, somehow, they always manage to be more over-the-top than before. The organization sincerely claims that SeaWorld is in violation of the 13th amendment’s ban on slavery because it holds five orcas – Tilikum, Katina, Kasatka, Ulises and Corky — at its parks in Orlando, Fla. and San Diego against their will. How they know that the whales don’t want to be SeaWorld stars I’m not sure — it might just be a killer whale’s dream — but, to give PETA the benefit of the doubt, I suppose the fact that Tilikum killed a SeaWorld trainer in 2010 might be an indication the animal is unhappy.

At any rate, here’s Jeff Kerr, the PETA lawyer who is representing the five orca plaintiffs, explaining to San Diego News why this case is actually of monumental importance:

“[The suit] eradicates slavery in all forms and slavery should not depend upon the species of the slave anymore than it depends upon gender, race or ethnicity of the slave,” said Kerr.

PETA will argue that if the orcas can suffer from enslavement, they should be protected from it.

“They were ripped from their homes and families, with whom they would have spent their entire lives,” said Kerr. “They’re held in the equivalent of concrete bathtubs. They’re denied everything natural to them… They’re forced to perform for human amusement and they’ve been turned into virtual breeding machines. By any reasonable definition, they’re slaves.”

Here he is again in The Daily Mail:

‘This case is on the next frontier of civil rights,’ said Mr Kerr, representing the five orcas. …

Brushing animals off as property is the same argument that was used against African-Americans and women before their constitutional rights were protected, PETA says. …

‘This is an historic day,’ Kerr said. ‘For the first time in our nation’s history, a federal court heard arguments as to whether living, breathing, feeling beings have rights and can be enslaved simply because they happen to not have been born human. By any definition these orcas have been enslaved here.’

Eh, I suppose I’m OK with this if Kerr can manage to find a jury of the orcas’ peers to decide the case, as Kimberly Guilfoyle suggested last night on The O’Reilly Factor.

It’s easy to laugh this story off, but it’s actually deeply disturbing. The constitutional claim is ridiculous: All the founding documents are clearly written by and for persons. The preamble of the Constitution starts with “we the people,” and the Declaration says, to secure rights, governments are instituted among “men.” It’s highly, highly insulting to those persons whose personal dignity was denied by slavery to suggest that animals-as-property is the same argument as persons-as-property. For that matter, it’s highly insulting to the babies whose personal dignity is denied by abortion to suggest these whales need to be fought for in court. This case likely won’t go anywhere, but that a judge has to hear and decide it in the first place is an enormous waste of time and taxpayer money — and troublingly indicative of how relativistic a society we’ve become.


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I’m a big animal lover, and I’m uncomfortable with zoos and animal parks like Sea World — but where will the next generation of animal lovers come from if kids never see orcas and tigers and elephants, up close? It’s a sacrifice that has to be made for the species (and luckily, most though not all, are treated well and fed better than they’d ever be in the wild).

Oh, and PETA are animal-killing psychos.

Tanya on February 8, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Exactly. Zoos have benefited animals world wide. See, western civilization has brought sanity to a ruthless and insane world. PETA is not just attacking zoos, they are attacking western civilization and thus, sanity itself. The left attacks sanity every day.

JellyToast on February 9, 2012 at 6:31 AM

I suppose the fact that Tilikum killed a SeaWorld trainer in 2010 might be an indication the animal is unhappy.

Or it may just be an indication that the very large and powerful animal is a natural-born predator, and was acting on instinct.

On the legal side, how does PETA even have standing to bring this suit? The money being wasted here isn’t just the taxpayers’ money (through the use of the federal courts), but also Sea World’s, which will have to spend thousands of dollars defending itself against these nonsensical claims brought by an organization that doesn’t own the whales or have any special right to speak for them.

AZCoyote on February 9, 2012 at 8:05 AM

The killer whale pictured on this post has a flopped over dorsal fin. That’s generally a sign that the depth level of the tank is too shallow and the fin has drooped over because it’s out of the water too much…

Anyway, I’m a big animal lover like most people here are. I don’t like zoos or sea animal shows, but I guess we’re stuck with them for better or worse. The best we can do is push for better care and treatment of wild animals in captivity.

Urban Infidel on February 9, 2012 at 10:12 AM

PETA jumps humps the shark.

ZK on February 9, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Anyway, I’m a big animal lover like most people here are. I don’t like zoos or sea animal shows, but I guess we’re stuck with them for better or worse. The best we can do is push for better care and treatment of wild animals in captivity.

Urban Infidel on February 9, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Well said.

Tim_CA on February 9, 2012 at 12:27 PM

If whales, and then other animals, have a “constitutional right” or “civil right” to things, as this PETA person is contending, then…can they enter into contracts? Say…marriage contracts?

[runs...]

cptacek on February 9, 2012 at 12:33 PM

An the case is tossed out. What a shocker.

netster007x on February 9, 2012 at 3:44 PM

If PETA were right that would mean we’d have to arrest killer whales for killing other animals. Honestly I don’t know how nobody in the organization can tell them this makes them seem really dumb.

netster007x on February 9, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Just two concurrent ‘Hot Air’ captions reveals a floundering legal system and why total incompetents (Obama on down) are in control.

1 NYC MOM SUES CITY FOR 900 TRILLION FOR TAKING CUSTODY OF HER CHILDREN. Yes the figure was “trillion”.

2 PETA SUES SEA WORLD FOR “ENSLAVING” KILLER SHARKS.

MaiDee on February 9, 2012 at 7:21 PM

I love these cases. Thanks to my Business Law Course and going through civil trials these cases get dismissed so early that it is a laughing stock. It is hard to imagine that any lawyer would even advise it worth anything. I wish a person could file aguenst stupidity, it just makes the human race look dumb.

JediSisko on February 10, 2012 at 10:32 AM

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