I admire the litigation process very much. The strength of our system here in the US is that virtually anyone can file suit for any perceived wrong. But, the strength is also the weakness. Anyone can file suit over anything. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sued Seaworld in San Diego to free the slaves.. err… the whales. PETA’s lawyer has argued in U.S. district court that the whales are subject to the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibits slavery. The whales should be free, they argue. The killer whales are forced to live in tanks and perform daily.
Seaworld filed a motion to dismiss the claims. The judge asked for an oral hearing and will rule later. See San Antonio Express News report. PETA claims victory already simply because such an argument has now been made in court. This case is on the "frontier of civil rights," said their lawyer. This is not about poor treatment. It is about something more. ". . . we heard arguments as to whether living, breathing, feeling beings have rights and can be enslaved simply because they happen to not have been born human," said Jeffrey Kerr, the lawyer for PETA.
And, sure, when you look at the text of the Tirteenth Amenment, it does not refer to slavery among humans. See Thirteenth Amendment. But, the Thirteenth Amendment merely amends the document. The U.S. Constitution starts with these words, "We the people." See Constitution. Not, "we the mammals" or "we the sentient beings." PETA faces a huge obstacle in this lawsuit.
So, the next time, Rover begs you for crumbs from the table. Remember, he could sue you…..