People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is asking the U.S. District Court in San Diego to grant constitutional rights to killer whales who perform at marine parks. Targeting SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the lawsuit of the animal rights group charges that harboring whales for public entertainment purposes violates the 13th Amendment ban on slavery, indicating that animals should possess the same rights as American citizens.
The suit’s "plaintiffs" comprise five killer whales, Tilikum and Katina based at Sea World in Orlando, Florida, and Corky, Kasatka, and Ulises at SeaWorld in San Diego, California. "All five of these orcas were violently seized from the ocean and taken from their families as babies," insisted PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.
"By any definition, these orcas are slaves — kidnapped from their homes, kept confined, denied everything that's natural to them and forced to perform tricks for SeaWorld's profit," Jeff Kerr, PETA’s general counsel, averred, adding, "The males have their sperm collected, the females are artificially inseminated and forced to bear young which are sometimes shipped away." In pleading its case, the group wrote on its blog:
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