On the morning of February 18, a sparse protest group demonstrated at Sea World’s San Diego park entrance.
The protest followed last week’s decision by a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit against Sea World that was filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The lawsuit, filed last October, demanded the release of orcas from Sea World on anti-slavery grounds. PETA attempted to have a federal court recognize the civil rights of orca whales and to gain the freedom of five Sea World animals. PETA attorney Jeffrey Kerr hoped to free the orcas in a watershed event, "the next frontier of civil rights."
The 13th Amendment (anti-slavery) to the U.S. Constitution was the foundation for PETA’s legal argument in the suit. Judge Jeffrey Miller dismissed the case on February 8, one day after briefly hearing arguments from both parties.
An ensuing statement issued by Sea World stated that the ruling proved to be a “waste of the Court’s valuable time and taxpayer money.” Sea World’s statement also said the court “reassures the sanctity of the 13th Amendment and the absurdity of PETA’s suit.”
In its final decision, the court said, “The clear language and historical context reveal that only human beings, or persons, are afforded the protection of the Thirteenth Amendment.”