U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller is now reviewing a case in a California district court brought by PETA on behalf of five whales currently “enslaved” at SeaWorld. The judge is to determine whether or not the whales are protected under the 13th Amendment and share the same rights as people.
PETA’s mission to protect animals is admirable. However, PETA’s zeal often goes over-the-top and loses public support as a result. Publicity stunts, particularly the nude ones, certainly bring attention to PETA, but too often the attention is on the silliness of the stunts rather than the cause. This court case on behalf of the whales is no exception.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that the 13th Amendment, or any Amendment, was written with animals in mind. Trying to interpret it in this manner is nothing less than a distortion of original intent and, if successful, will become a Pandora’s Box of future lawsuits and inanities.
Consider the consequences should PITA win this lawsuit (not impossible in this strange land). There would be no reason at all to stop with whales (which would be discriminatory); therefore, all animals would quickly be granted the same “rights”. Rights bring responsibilities, a fact largely ignored by those who usually demand rights.
Responsibilities, at the very least, require one to respect and follow rules, laws, and traditions of the society granting those “rights”. Animals would then be expected to wear clothes (or at least cover their genitals in public), pay taxes, earn a living, vote, refrain from urinating or defecating in the street, purchase health insurance, not eat or abandon their babies, fornicate in private, not discriminate against other species, etc. etc.
It is true that there are people who routinely break or ignore all or many of the above-mentioned examples. Interestingly enough, those people are often called “animals” for doing so. We would, of course, have to coin a new word for them because calling them “animals” would become a hate crime.
David J. Hentosh
UPDATE: Case dismissed by Judge.