Who knew that whales have standing to sue in federal court? Apparently they do as lawyers for PETA have filed suit against Sea World naming 5 killer whales as plaintiffs. The suit is attempting to free the whales from being “enslaved” and claims they should enjoy the same Constitutional Protections as humans, specifically invoking the 13th Amendment which abolishes slavery.
Theodore Shaw, the attorney for Sea World, told the Court, “neither orcas nor any other animal were included in ‘We the People. . .’ when the Constitution was adopted.”
The US District judge who is assigned to the case has raised concerns over whether animals can be represented as plaintiffs in a lawsuit. That issue will be decided at a later date.
It is worth pointing out that in international law, whales have historically been held in a higher regard than other animals. Numerous treaties, especially the UN Charter on the Law of the Seas, as well as customary international law, have recognized that whales deserve a greater level of protection and are viewed as being above other animals. Nonetheless, the idea that any animal, let alone a whale, could have standing to bring a lawsuit is preposterous.