Judge dismisses SeaWorld enslaving suit

2012-02-09 21:53

kalahari.com

San Diego - A federal judge has thrown out an animal rights group's lawsuit accusing SeaWorld of enslaving captive killer whales, ruling that orcas had no standing to seek the same constitutional rights as people.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or Peta, had accused the chain of aquatic theme parks of violating the rights of whales under the 13th Amendent of the US Constitution, which abolished slavery in the United States.

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in San Diego, listed five performing orcas at SeaWorld's parks in California and Florida - Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka and Ulises - as plaintiffs in the complaint.

"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," US District Judge Jeffrey Miller wrote in his ruling.

"Both historic and contemporary sources reveal that the term 'slavery' and 'involuntary servitude' refer only to persons," the judge added.

The 13th Amendment was enacted in 1865, the year the US Civil War ended.

Legal experts previously denounced as frivolous the Peta lawsuit, which had sought a court order requiring SeaWorld to release the five killer whales to a "suitable habitat".

David Steinberg, a professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, told Reuters when the lawsuit was filed in October that it was "demeaning (to) the integrity and humanity of people who were owned as slaves".

Animals have legal rights

Virginia-based Peta has staked out a number of controversial positions in the past, in seeking to advance the cause of animal rights.

In 2003, the Anti-Defamation League accused Peta of trivialising the deaths of Jews in World War Two with a campaign that compared the meat industry to the Holocaust.

Colleen O'Brien, a spokesperson for Peta, said in a statement that her organisation would regroup as a result of the dismissal of what it called "this historic first case" on behalf of orcas.

"Today's decision does not change the fact that the orcas who once lived naturally wild and free, are today kept as slaves by SeaWorld," O'Brien said.

Miller said in his ruling that animals did have legal rights under state and federal statutes, including criminal laws.

He added the "goal" of Peta attorneys who brought the lawsuit "to protect the welfare of orcas is laudable," even if the 13th Amendment was not the correct way to approach the case.

Read more on:    us  |  animals
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Kuils River - 12:48 PM
    Road name: R102 Van Riebeeck Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Nooiensfontein Road
  • Tuesday Belhar - 12:12 PM
    Road name: Stellenbosch Arterial Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Symphony Way
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DStv Walka Handheld TV

The Walka Handheld TV is a slim, lightweight device with...

From R199.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may come up to alert you of your security needs. It may be that you need to create a better structure for your finances...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.