Yesterday, a federal judge in San Diego addressed the issue of whether or not animals are protected under the Constitution’s 13th Amendment, which outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude. The issue is central to a controversial lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against SeaWorld, in which PETA accused the theme park of enslaving five high-performing orcas. In response, SeaWorld filed a motion to have the case dismissed, calling the lawsuit a “publicity stunt” with no legal merit. The US District Court judge presiding over the case did not make an immediate ruling, but PETA declared the hearing a victory, saying it was the first time animals were considered under the 13th Amendment.
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