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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

Peta’s Killer Whale Enslavement Lawsuit Goes To Court

Attorneys for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are scheduled to argue in federal court today against SeaWorld San Diego on behalf of some of the theme park's killer whales.

PETA filed a lawsuit against SeaWorld last October, demanding that five orcas be released immediately on grounds that the 13th Amendment banning slavery should apply to animals.

"All five of these orcas were violently seized from the ocean and taken from their families as babies,'' said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk upon filing the suit. "They are denied freedom and everything else that is natural and important to them while kept in small concrete tanks and reduced to performing stupid tricks. The 13th Amendment prohibits slavery, and these orcas are, by definition, slaves.''

SeaWorld executives have called the suit a "baseless'' publicity stunt offensive to those the amendment was written to protect.

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