I have been warning anyone who will listen that ”animal standing” is one of the most potentially destructive animal rights agenda items. Animal standing advocates hope to change the law so that animals can sue their owners in their own names, which of course, is a farce since it would really be ideologues bringing cases in pursuit of their own beliefs. Animal standing has supporters in very high places, as in Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s “regulations czar,” who wrote in support of the concept before entering government service. Lawsuits have been brought in the name of a seal, all the whales and dolphins in the world, and in other cases. Should this advocacy succeed, it would tear the economy apart as countless industries use animals and/or their byproducts.
Now, PETA is suing Sea World in the name of SW’s killer whales, claiming that the facility is holding orcas as “slaves.” From the PETA press release:
In the first case of its kind, PETA, three marine-mammal experts, and two former orca trainers are filing a lawsuit asking a federal court to declare 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. The filingthe first ever seeking to apply the 13th Amendment to nonhuman animalsnames the five orcas as plaintiffs and also seeks their release to their natural habitats or seaside sanctuaries. The suit is based on the plain text of the 13th Amendment, which prohibits the condition of slavery without reference to “person” or any particular class of victim. “Slavery is slavery, and it does not depend on the species of the slave any more than it depends on gender, race, or religion,” says general counsel to PETA, Jeffrey Kerr.
Sure it does. Only humans can be “slaves: and authors of the Amendment—who, after all, used horses for transportation and had used whale oil for lighting before kerosene—would never have conceived that a lawsuit would be brought seeking to apply their efforts to any animal.
This is more than the usual PETA publicity stunt—although it is that too. Rather, animal rights activists keep bringing lawsuits in the name of animals in the hope of finding the one wacky judge who will allow the case to proceed. This nonsense won’t stop until and unless judges start imposing large financial penalties for filing frivolous cases. Let’s hope that process begins with a huge financial sanction imposed against PETA and the other plaintiffs.
This is also a direct assault on human exceptionalism, no surprise there. But it is also insulting in the extreme to compare a whale in captivity to human slaves. (PETA got in trouble with civil rights groups once before when they compared a lynching to a dead cow hoisted by a rope for butchering, in its short-lived, “We Are All Aniamls” campaign.) African Americans should be up in arms, as PETA is comparing their antebellum racial plight in the USA—for which the 13th Amendment was the permanent legal remedy—to the captivity of animals. KKK-style racists used to compare people of color to animals, it is just as odious when it is done the other way around.