I’m happy to report that sanity reigns in San Diego — in the federal court, at least.
Only two days after hearing argument, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller dismissed a silly lawsuit brought by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that argued that five killer whales are subject to the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and were being held in “slavery” by Sea World. The judge ruled, quite correctly, that the 13th Amendment applies only to humans, and stated: “As ‘slavery’ and ‘involuntary servitude’ are uniquely human activities, as those terms have been historically and contemporaneously applied, there is simply no basis to construe the Thirteenth Amendment as applying to non-humans.”
PETA’s lawyer says the organization will now decide how to proceed, and presumably will consider whether to appeal the dismissal of the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — traditionally viewed as the most liberal of the various federal appellate courts. If PETA decides not to appeal to that forum, it will tell us a lot about whether the whole purpose of the lawsuit was simply to elicit the publicity that PETA craves.