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Judge tosses out lawsuit seeking freedom for orcas at SeaWorld

February 8, 2012 |  4:19 pm

Orca at SeaWorld in San Diego
A federal judge in San Diego on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that had sought an order forcing SeaWorld to free five orcas.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller ruled that a lawsuit on behalf of the orcas could not be brought under the anti-slavery 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because the amendment pertains to human beings, not animals.

Even in defeat, PETA hailed its lawsuit as a victory, "one more step taken toward the inevitable day when all animals will be free from enslavement for human amusement."

Three of the five orcas mentioned in the PETA lawsuit are at SeaWorld San Diego; the others are at the SeaWorld park in Orlando, Fla.

SeaWorld had asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, branding it a publicity stunt.

In a statement praising Miller's decision, SeaWorld said, "We  cannot hope that this is PETA’s last publicity stunt but we can now refocus our energy in more positive and constructive ways:  delivering high quality educational experiences to our guests and providing the highest possible standard of care to our animals."


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Photo: Orca show at SeaWorld San Diego.

Credit: SeaWorld San Diego