Don’t believe for a minute that slavery isn’t an ongoing scourge in America. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California on behalf of five slaves being held in California and Florida.
The slaves in San Diego are Corky, Kasatka, and Ulises. The slaves in Orlando are Tilikum and Katina. All five are members of Orcinus orca, the largest species of the dolphin family – also known as killer whales.
PETA says that all five are being held at SeaWorld parks in violation of the 13th Amendment, which prohibits involuntary servitude and abolished slavery. According to PETA general counsel Jeffrey Kerr:
Slavery is slavery, and it does not depend on the species of the slave any more than it depends on gender, race, or religion.
The lawsuit maintains that the orcas were taken from their families and denied their natural environment. The males have their sperm collected, while the females are artificially inseminated and forced to bear young, which are sometimes shipped away. In addition:
Deprived of the opportunity to make conscious choices and to practice their cultural vocal, social, and foraging traditions, they are compelled to perform meaningless tricks for a reward of dead fish.
Animal law experts say that the court must first agree that PETA has the ability and right to represent the whales. Then PETA would have to persuade the court that the 13th Amendment applies to whales.