Killer Whales Abandon Murder, Take to Filing Law Suits

According to the BBC, there is a case pending in the United States Court for the Southern District of California in which PETA has named 5 killer whales as plaintiffs. PETA has it that killer whales have Thirteenth Amendment rights, which SeaWorld is violating.

Apparently, Judge Miller held oral arguments on … well, something. The article doesn’t make it clear but I suspect it was our old friend the 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).

While I suppose that the text of the Thirteenth Amendment does not explicitly limit its application to persons and not animals, I don’t expect this case to go anywhere. It has only a tiny bit more chance of success than trying to sue on behalf of a tree.

And we’ve seen how well trees fair as plaintiffs. Judge Gills put it nicely in verse: 

We thought that we would never see

A suit to compensate a tree.

A suit whose claim in tort is prest

Upon a mangled tree’s behest;

A tree whose battered trunk was prest

Against a Chevy’s crumpled crest;

A tree that faces each new day

With bark and limb in disarray;

A tree that may forever bear

A lasting need for tender care.

Flora lovers though we three,

We must uphold the court’s decree.


Fisher v. Lowe, 333 N.W.2d 67, 67 (Mich. Ct. App. 1983) (footnote omitted).

-Zachary Cloud


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