LOS ANGELES (CBS) — An animal rights activist group sought Wednesday to extend the same constitutional rights provided in the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to captive whales.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced its plans to file a lawsuit on grounds that performers such as SeaWorld’s Shamu are essentially slaves.

The first-of-its-kind lawsuit names the five orcas as plaintiffs and demands their release.

“All five of these orcas were violently seized from the ocean and taken from their families as babies,” said Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s president. “They are denied freedom and everything else that is natural and important to them while kept in small concrete tanks and reduced to performing stupid tricks.”

“By any definition, these orcas are slaves,” added General Counsel Jeff Kerr.

SeaWorld said the lawsuit would be a “baseless” publicity stunt and offensive to those the amendment was written to protect.

“SeaWorld has been informed that it is the target of an animal activist lawsuit challenging the public right to enjoy and learn more about marine mammals,” officials with the marine park stated.

“It is not appropriate to comment on a suit that has not yet been filed and that we have not seen, but this effort to extend the 13th Amendment’s solemn protections beyond human beings is baseless and in many ways offensive,” the statement added.

Comments (12)
  1. Mary Gretzlaf. DVM says:

    I once supported PETA when they first formed and they had a good commitment and ideals, unfortunately over the years have to some degree those ideals have gone astray and at times become detrimental to the basic foundation on which it was based.

    1. Brian Andrews says:

      Exactly. I typically defend PETA…because as crazy as they can be, we need them…to offset all the sick lunatics on the other end of the spectrum who feel animals have no rights/feelings at all. And unfortunately, there’s a lot more of those sickos than folks in PETA. However, stuff like this is just ridiculous…publicity stunt is right. If you asked me to sign something that would begin to apply constitutional rights to non-humans, I might consider it…but it’s pretty freakin obvious at this point in time it only applies to people. Even though most animals deserve those “rights” more than the people of this country do. Oh well..

  2. gunseller says:

    These people have too much time on their hands.Next they will be trying to protect the bugs that hit my windsheild. By the way, some of the quail I shot this weekend werent dead when i found them so to prevent suffering I ripped their heads off.

  3. John Flores says:

    Why don’t we make all the different animals and mamels in zoo’s and parks like Sea world actual citizens. Oh sorry I forgot their al just a bu nch of dumb animals and so forth and when is keeping an animal constituited as keeping them as slaves, does that make my dog Scruffy a slave as well. Damm PETA go do something worthwile instaed of making stupid headlines in the news over worthless bs.

  4. CER says:

    PETA= People Eating Tasty Animals,do I need to say more!

  5. Jim says:

    PETA hasn’t been in the news for a long time, so I suspect this is simply an outrageous attempt to garner attention. Ignore them, maybe they’ll go away.

  6. Ray says:

    What can i say they are a bunch of wackos

  7. Dieter says:

    PETA is the worst organisation what animal welfare concerns.
    Ingrid is a total nut just like the rest of these hypocrits …
    Here is a little education for folks who need to know some of the truth about peta and such …

  8. Smokey says:

    Ahh PETA….People Eating Tasty Animals…Hey let’s have a fund raising BBQ for PETA…anyone for a tasty rack of ribs? Or do you prefer fish??!!

  9. Toni says:

    I heard through the grapevine that many of the PETA members have animal sex, Ingrid is supposed to be an expert on oral sex with dogs and ponies, just heard it through the grapevine …

  10. Sage Advice says:

    I agree with PETA on this one. Let the whales go free, in the open sea, to pursue their own life of happiness, pursue their freedom, their own careers, to buy a home, finance a Toyota Prius, become upstanding whales within the local community, to swim the deep blue ocean, the warm currents, the cold tomes of the deep waters….

    …so I can hunt them with a McBros/McMillan .50BMG rifle.

    You know I can’t get that rifle through the gates at SeaWorld, and besides, that would be like shooting fish in a barrel – OK, they aren’t fish, but with PETA’s help, this will be the best hunting expedition EVER!

    Thank you PETA for being a P.I.T.A !!! You finally did something right by the American Hunter! LET THE OCEAN SAFARIS BEGIN!!!


  11. J Fowler says:

    CBS, why give PeTA Hundreds of Thousands of dollars of free press?

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