From the BBC News:
SeaWorld sued over ‘enslaved’ killer whales
February 6, 2012
The five wild-captured orca “plaintiffs” are based at SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego
Five killer whales have been named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit which argues they deserve the same constitutional protection from slavery as humans.
A US judge is considering a complant by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (Peta) against SeaWorld.
It is reportedly the first time a US court has heard legal arguments over whether animals should enjoy the same constitutional protections as humans.
SeaWorld’s legal team said the case was a waste of time and resources.
The marine park’s lawyer, Theodore Shaw, told the court in San Diego: “Neither orcas nor any other animal were included in the ‘We the people’… when the Constitution was adopted.”
He said that if the case were successful, it could have implications not just on how other marine parks or zoos operate, but even on the police use of sniffer dogs to detect bombs and drugs.
Peta says the killer whales are treated like slaves for being forced to live in tanks and perform daily at the SeaWorld parks in California and Florida.
It is not considered likely that the whales will win their freedom, but campaigners said they were pleased the case even made it to a courtroom.
The lawsuit invokes the 13th Amendment to the constitution, which abolished “slavery or involuntary servitude” in the US.
Jeffrey Kerr, the lawyer representing the five whales, said: “For the first time in our nation’s history, a federal court 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.
“By any definition these orcas have been enslaved here.”
Hearing the arguments for about an hour, US District Judge Jeffrey Miller raised concerns over whether animals could be represented as plaintiffs in a lawsuit.
He will issue a ruling at a later date.
Personal note here: WHY just the Orcas? Why not include ALL the animals at Sea World? The polar bears especially; could it be for political reasons? Or because American’s need to be “Nudged” as Cass Sunstein puts it by utilizing the death of a Sea World employee by an Orca that outraged Americans? Be careful America…….
Also added here: Does PETA Kill Animals? Rather euthanize than keep them caged or owned by humans?
Animal Rights Activists believe that animals have the same rights as humans. In other words, animals are on equal moral terms with people. They forgo all animal consumption of any kind. Food must be meat free, clothes and furnishings must not use any animal products and animals should not be harmed in any way for any reason. Animal Rights Activists are the people that are known to protest fast food restaurants, picket farms and release captive domestic animals into the wild (usually to starve to death or be eaten by a real wild animal). In the extreme, animal rights activists believe that pet ownership is immoral and a form of slavery (this can’t be made up). They follow a model of total animal liberation, that is, all animals should be liberated from the bonds of human servitude and be left to live without human intervention.
This philosophy was best summed up by Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”
Some organizations that support this or a similar viewpoint are:
- Humane Society of the United States-HSUS (not the local Humane society, they are not nearly the same)
- PETA-People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
- Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
- Friends of Animals
Animal Welfarists are the people that believe that animals should be treated humanely but are not the equal of people. The people that support and volunteer at local animal shelters are usually not animal rights activists. They believe in reasonable steps to ensure the humane treatment of animals and cannot stand to see an animal suffer. Most people that love animals fall into this category. If a sense of outrage overcame you when the Michael Vick story broke but you have no problem with eating meat, it indicates not only that you may be animal welfarist but you also have a moral compass. What may seem ironic to some but I have found very true is that hunters and farmers, when pressed on their personal beliefs, turn out to be supporters of animal welfare. I have yet to meet a hunter or farmer that can stand and watch an animal suffer and they are usually pretty vocal about the subject when pressed. Given the choice and when asked in detail about personal philosophy and beliefs, most Americans are proponents of animal welfare, not animal rights.
Where does Cass Sunstein fall in these categories? While not a total Animal Rights Activist he is a proponent of many of their views and the extreme groups that believe in total animal liberation may soon have a friend in the White House.
Animals should have access to legal representation
Hunting should be banned
Compares animal use to slavery
Proponent of extensive regulation of animal husbandry
Opposed to using animals in scientific research
President Obama may have made an honest mistake in stating during the campaign that he was for Animal Rights. The President is not, he likes a good Kobe steak and he bought a pure-bred dog (that he has a dog in the first place made some feathers ruffle in the ARA community). President Obama may be a proponent of Animal Welfare but courting the extreme side of this issue may cost him some political capital.
Animal Rights Czar?
Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s Regulatory and Information Czar, is an animal rights advocate with the power to implement PETA and HSUS’ radical animal rights legislative agenda.
Sunstein’s radical statements  regarding an animal’s “right” to sue its owner in court are well known so we’ll cover some things you may not know about this man. I will hasten to do so before The Dog Press is sued  by Sunstein, who many perceive as the second most powerful man in the country because he will “regulate” everything and “inform” no one but the President.
You will read this a good thing if you are a left wing democrat, a warning if you are a right wing republican, or as “it serves you right” by my ancestors. If you are a purebred pet owner or show breeder, you will shiver.
In the opinion of the informed, Cass Sunstein is a radical animal rights advocate who, in a 2002 legal paper, said there should be “extensive regulation of the use of animals.” In 2004, he co-authored a book entitled Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions in which he asks “Should animals have legal rights?” Promoted as having an “all-star cast of contributors to explore the legal and political issues that underlie the campaign for animal rights and the opposition to it” the book is supported by far-left legal scholars, many of whom are also avowed animal rightists.
|Then in closing, Sunstein hammered home his point, that treatment of livestock and other animals is “a form of unconscionable barbarity not the same as, but in many ways, morally akin to slavery and mass extermination of human beings.”|
Sunstein addresses “ethical questions about ownership, protection against unjustified suffering, and the ability of animals to make their own choices free from human control.” This book occupies only a niche in the shelf of writings by Cass Sunstein in which he shows little regard for commerce, economic ramifications, or the Constitution when it comes to regulating animal ownership and use.
Cass Sunstein’s animal rights agenda is not a passing fad. In 2007 he gave a keynote speech at Harvard University entitled “Facing Animals” in which he delivered the following quotes: “We ought to ban hunting, I suggest, if there isn’t a purpose other than sport and fun. That should be against the law. It’s time now.” He argued for entirely “eliminating current practices such as … meat eating“, and then further decried “greyhound racing, cosmetic testing, and meat eating.” Then in closing, Sunstein hammered home his point, that treatment of livestock and other animals is “a form of unconscionable barbarity not the same as, but in many ways, morally akin to slavery and mass extermination of human beings.”
Positions unchanged, the Harvard Law Professor and long-time friend of President Obama (dating back to their days at Un. Of Chicago) is now the Regulatory Czar, an unelected position over which voters, congress and senate have no control.  Very few opposed Sunstein’s appointment other than a Texas Senator who put a temporary hold on Sunstein due to his troubling record, “specifically the fact that he wants to establish legal ‘rights’ for livestock, wildlife and pets, which would enable animals to file lawsuits in American courts,”