Performing whales are not 'slaves', says US judge
The grand emancipation of America's popular performing orcas has been postponed, thanks to the not-so-startling conclusion of a district court judge in San Diego that, on balance, whales and humans are not the same thing.
That the issue ever reached the chambers of Judge Jeffrey Miller was the work of the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which filed a suit against SeaWorld, the aquatic theme park chain. Peta alleged that by holding the whales in concrete tanks and obliging them to "work" several times a day entertaining tourists, SeaWorld was violating the 13th amendment to the American constitution, which bans slavery.
By the standards of the US legal system, the answer came very quickly. Nice try, but the 13th amendment, adopted after the US Civil War, pertains to humans and not animals.
Meanwhile, take with a pinch of salt any profession of disappointment from Peta. This was a legal foray that produced a public relations splash, never mind the outcome. Dismissing the lawsuit, filed on behalf of five killer whales, Judge Miller was to the point. "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," he said.
SeaWorld welcomed the ruling, saying: "We cannot hope this is Peta's last publicity stunt but we can now refocus our energy in more positive and constructive ways: delivering high-quality education experiences to our guests and providing the highest possible standard of care to our animals."
From the blogs
Owen Howells is a DJ/producer who grew up in Australia but was born in the UK. He came back to the U...
Justice, the bedrock of our society is for sale under the Government’s latest plan to sell legal aid...
Take inspiration from the green-fingered brigade who have been showing off their creativity at the R...
There are more empty shops on our high streets than ever before, says another report into the state ...
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.