If you hadn’t heard, PETA was trying to bring a lawsuit against SeaWorld, claiming that their treatment of the whales was similar to being held and treated as slaves. Yup, you read that right. Slaves. But why are we not surprised? This is not the first time PETA has done something outrageous and dare I say, random, to make their point.
Their defense was that the 13th amendment also covers animal rights. The same 13th Amendment that allowed for the ending of slavery in our country and for African Americans to be seen as people and not property.
Wyatt Cenac (remember him from Medicine for Melancholy?) mocked the lawsuit on last Wednesday night’s episode of The Daily Show in an interview with PETA’s Senior Vice President of Communications, Lisa Lange. You can tell throughout the interview, Lange was taking it seriously, even after Cenac bought up these questions:
“I mean, it’s not like you’re just exploiting the history of the enslavement of black people in this country for publicity, right?”
There was a pause by Lange, and she never really answered the question.
But civil rights activist, Elaine Brown, did, and she wasn’t having any of that. “It’s a cruel and racist joke. If there is animal cruelty than it needs to be checked, but animal cruelty does not rise to slavery.”
PETA filed the lawsuit on behalf of the five orcas at SeaWorld in the fall through the U.S. district in San Diego. They felt that the whales “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. As such, Plaintiffs are held in slavery and involuntary servitude.”
The lawsuit was thrown out on Feb. 8 by U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Miller. As shown in the video, the PETA spokesperson still believes this was a landmark case and hopes this could be bring more cases to court. Delusional or passionate? You can decide.
Animals are amazing creatures and should never be abused, but was this taking it too far? To compare trained killer whales in SeaWorld to slavery? Of course it was. To some, in fact, many animals are in better shape at zoos or parks, rather than out in the wild because they’re most likely to be killed by hunters and poachers. At least SeaWorld can give them a safe home and allow a great learning tool for children.
At the end of the day, can these organizations stop comparing everything to slavery? It diminishes and tries to make a mockery of what actually happened in history with foolish incidents like this. Not cool, not thought provoking. Just disrespectful.