Saturday, February 11, 2012

Unicorns Are Free

Last October, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued SeaWorld in a San Diego Federal District Court alleging "that five wild-caught orcas forced to perform at SeaWorld are being held as slaves in violation of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution." Enacted in the wake of the Civil War, Section 1 of the 13th Amendment reads:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller dismissed the case because (at 5-7) the 13th Amendment applies only to human beings, not whales. PETA's lawyers, I suspect, assumed it applied to everyone and everything, at least after they'd transubstantiated underlying "cosmic justice" by clapping their red high-heel shoes together, thrice. Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, the clear meaning of the Constitutional text is obvious to anyone who can read: a "servitude" can only be "involuntary" for humans, not animals, and only humans can be a "party" to, convicted and punished "for crime." There's even precedent on point. Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. 36, 69 (1872).

Of course, none of that matters to PETA, which spun its defeat as "one more step toward the inevitable day when all animals will be free from enslavement for human entertainment." (I wish my clients always were so sanguine.) Don Surber calls it the day "PeTA jumps the whale," and the comparison of human bondage to well-fed and swimming whales "a new low for liberals." I'm afraid he's overlooked the past three years of politics in Obama's unicorn universe.

Let's hope the appeal isn't assigned to the Ninth Circuit's infamous Judge Reinhardt--he's already done enough damage for one week.

(via the Los Angeles Times)

1 comment:

Gringo said...

But whales should be given the right to vote! And PETA can find people who will correctly interpret how whales can votge! :)