I can't tell whether to be amused or infuriated by PETA's latest legal manuever: they have filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Diego claiming that the orcas at Sea World are being held in violation of the 13th Amendment.
That's right. PETA is arguing that the whales are slaves. Because, after all, the law doesn't actually state that the Constitution is restricted to one species. "It's a new frontier in civil rights,"Jeff Kerr, PETA's general counsel, was quoted as saying, “Slavery does not depend on the species of the slave any more than it depends on race, gender or ethnicity.”
To equate the fate of present day amusement park animals with the plight of millions of enslaved African Americans in the antebellum South is the sort of bizarre thinking that can only come from the people arguing that slaughtering animals for meat is the equivalent of the Nazi Holocaust. It is -- or would be -- laughable, except that this stupid case will eat up court time, energy and resources that could be better spent on other things.
While I have no sympathy in particular for Sea World, I do feel rather sorry for the District Judge, Jeffrey Miller. I am looking forward to seeing his ruling on this. Personally, I think he should decide simply that PETA* doesn't have standing to sue here, but that's mainly because I think it would mess with people's heads.
Undoubtedly, whatever he decides will get appealed.
And perhaps PETA has a point: if a corporation can be a person, why not a cetacean?
*Or any other humans -- only the whales.