We've covered the dangers captive orcas pose when in close proximity to people—read Blood in the Water and Killer in the Pool. This morning, news broke that PETA and some former whale trainers plan to sue SeaWorld, saying that the company is in violation of the 13th amendment's ban on slavery.
"By any definition, these orcas are slaves—kidnapped from their homes, kept confined, denied everything that's natural to them and forced to perform tricks for SeaWorld's profit," PETA Counsel Jeff Kerr told the AP. "The males have their sperm collected, the females are artificially inseminated and forced to bear young which are sometimes shipped away.”
A law professor told the AP by email that the suit would likely be dismissed. “The court will most likely not even get to the merits of the case, and find that the plaintiffs do not have standing to file the lawsuit at all," says David Favre of Michigan State University.
The somewhat shocking statements will continue to make waves around the web even if the suit itself has no chance. The news brings to mind a less inflammatory story about the relationship between humans and orcas. The Whale is a film narrated by Ryan Reynolds that tells the story of an orphaned orca named Luna who establishes a relationship with the people of Vancouver Island. Luna does everything he can to attract attention and human contact.