From CNN.com: PETA Lawsuit Alleges SeaWorld Enslaves Killer Whales
(CNN) -- Can killer whales sue SeaWorld for enslavement?
A lawsuit filed Wednesday by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other "next friends" of five SeaWorld killer whales takes that novel legal approach.
The 20-page complaint asks the U.S. District Court in Southern California to declare that the five whales -- Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka, and Ulises -- are being held in slavery or involuntary servitude in violation of the 13th Amendment.
A PETA statement said the lawsuit is the first of its kind in contending that constitutional protections against slavery are not limited to humans.
"Plaintiffs were forcibly taken from their families and natural habitats, are held captive at SeaWorld San Diego and SeaWorld Orlando, denied everything that is natural to them, subjected to artificial insemination or sperm collection to breed performers for defendants' shows, and forced to perform, all for defendants' profit," the lawsuit says, arguing that those conditions amount to enslavement and/or forced servitude.
A SeaWorld statement called the lawsuit a baseless publicity stunt by PETA, which is known for provocative advertisements and public demonstrations on behalf of animal rights.
At the heart of the lawsuit is the question of whether a non-human entity can sue for a violation of constitutional rights.
The 13th Amendment outlaws slavery and "involuntary servitude" in the United States without any specific mention that it applies only to people.
SeaWorld claims PETA is just doing this for publicity, but I'm not so sure. PETA folks are insane. They probably believe their lawsuit has a chance of winning.And if it does win (and that's a mighty big "if", but then again, the world has gone nuts), then Tilikum and company will have enjoy greater constitutional protection than unborn human children. That's the really crazy bit.