Written by PETA
It was a landmark day
in the U.S. District Court in San Diego today. For the first time ever, a
federal court is considering whether or not the 13th Amendment,
which prohibits slavery, applies to five orcas—Tilikum, Katina, Kasatka,
Ulises and Corky—who are now incarcerated at SeaWorld
amusement parks. PETA, three marine-mammal experts, and two former SeaWorld
trainers filed the suit
in the orcas' behalf in October. SeaWorld filed a motion to dismiss the
case—but that didn't happen today. Instead, Judge Jeffrey Miller said he will
consider the case and will issue a ruling at a later date.
For a full hour, Judge Miller asked
thoughtful questions of both sides and listened as Jeff Kerr, general counsel
to PETA, spoke in behalf of the orca plaintiffs.
"It's a new frontier in civil
rights," Kerr said in his summary of the case. 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."
We couldn't agree more.
In the aerial view of SeaWorld, one can
see how little room orcas have. Inside the circle is Tilikum, whose nose
and tail almost touch the ends of his tank. Image © 2011 Google
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.