Monday, February 6, 2012

Killer Whale Enslavement Law Suit

You are meant to be free, to roam the earth. You are meant to travel freely from China to the Cape of Good Hope with your kin. You are meant to live a carefree life, with nothing but hunting the oceans for your prey and swimming along the family that has been beside you since you were born.
But you are captured, enslaved. You are forced to live in a small tub, a fish bowl. These humans make you jump in the air, twirl, carry them, jump through hoops and feed you small pieces of fish as "reward."
You are a killer whale. You are meant to be king of the seas, but you are reduced to nothing, to a circus clown, existing to perform tricks and live a miserable existence in a tiny space without any contact from your own kind.
We've all seen the Shamu shows at SeaWorld. Everyone "ooh's" and "ahh's" at the wonderful trick this giant beast can perform. Look, the whale can splash us with water and swim around a tiny tank because that's what it's born to do, right?
Wrong. And that's what PETA has filed a lawsuit against in October. The lawsuit will witness the faceoff between the Lawyers for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against the SeaWorld lawyers. According to the animal rights group, they are basing the case off the fact that the five killer whales are being held in slavery or involuntary servitude in violation of the 13th amendment of the Constitution.
SeaWorld is calling this lawsuit a "baseless publicity stunt by PETA" which is known for being inappropriate and extreme. However, this is one thing many people all around the world can agree with: keeping these giants in tiny tubs for their existence benefits no one but the people making the money.

The big thing here is they brought in the Constitution, which has always applied to humans ("...all men are created equal..."). PETA filed a 20 page report on behalf of the five whales: Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka and Ulises. The statement released by PETA at the time contended that the constitutional protections and rights granted are not only limited to humans.

Many would beg to differ and one can see why. The Constitution is and always has been applicable to only humans (however long it may have taken to grant equal rights for all), never nonhumans and this is where PETA will face the most opposition and criticism. However, one can hope that their case does bring hope of a free future for the captive killer whales. Our very own Lolita in the Seaquarium faces this everyday.

Eco-tip: invest in a permanent water bottle, rather than using a new plastic one everyday. You save millions of tons of plastic waste as well as hundreds of dollars for yourself.