PETA lawsuit to ‘free Willy’ unreasonable
Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012
Updated: Sunday, February 12, 2012 22:02
A federal judge ruled against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals early Friday morning in what could have been a historic ruling.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller denied PETA's 13th Amendment case petitioning for the immediate release of five SeaWorld orcas, Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka and Ulises, back into the wild.
The most pressing issue here is that the U.S. Constitution applies to people, not animals, no matter how many tree-huggers and puppy-kissers dislike it. Don't misinterpret this — I myself am an avid animal-rights activist — but we have to deal in the world of reason.
Animal abuse legislation is pretty broad and any number of those pieces of law could have been utilized, but it is so disrespectful to use a constitutional amendment meant to stop the ungodly treatment of other human beings and apply it to a giant marine mammal.
Many critics refer solely to African-American slaves who were the first ones to benefit from the 13th Amendment as the sole offended parties, but there is more to this case than that. There are also the children sex slaves and mail-order brides who make up modern-day slavery who are getting lumped in with orcas. This is unacceptable.
PETA's claims surrounded the fact that the five whales were "violently seized from the ocean and taken from their families as babies," according to a statement from PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. Therefore, PETA argued that the killer whales fell under the 13th Amendment as involuntary servants and should be released.
This is one of the most counter-intuitive moves I have ever seen from a supposed animal-rights group. I personally volunteer for a pet rescue and am a self-proclaimed animal lover, so this lawsuit disgusted me.
There are many other issues that could be pushed right now and other major pieces of animal-rights legislation, but PETA decided to put all of that at risk.
Critics are fearful that future animal rights cases will be dismissed because of this case. And two other major problems would have been the danger the case posed to industry as well as the concern amongst pet-owning citizens if the ruling had been in PETA's favor.
First, the precedent set could have had far-reaching ramifications. Would this legislation only cover theme park and zoo animals? What about industry and agricultural animals?
Milking cows, nesting chickens and farming bees may have all been legally released from service. Just to emphasize the problem that could have caused, let's look at honeybees alone.
According to the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, "One mouthful in three of the foods you eat directly or indirectly depends on pollination by honey bees. The value of honey bee pollination to U.S. agriculture is more than $14 billion annually, according to a Cornell University study."
It's not even feasible to try to move farms near large populations of wild bees because they never get that big and pollination at the right seasons could never be ensured. That same report said, "Pollinating California's 420,000 acres of almond trees alone takes between 900,000 and one million honeybee colonies."
Also, there is the issue of domesticated animals. Someone could be brought up on charges for having a dog or cat in their home to keep them company or entertained and be called slaveholders. It seems preposterous, but this ruling could have opened the doors to make that possible.
Overall, PETA needs to stay in its lane and throw paint on fur-sporting celebrities, but leave legislation to people who know how to use it.