Animal Law Review

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This Article contains Sea Shepherd Legal’s (SSL) amicus brief in the matter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Miami Seaquarium, an ongoing litigation concerning the captive orca known as “Lolita.” SSL filed this brief for two reasons. First, the conditions under which Lolita is held are at once particularly illegal and immoral. Lolita’s conditions of captivity violate both the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), all while imposing continuous harm on a highly intelligent being in the name of entertainment. Second, the decision in this case frustrates the logic of the underlying laws. Captive members of an ESA-listed species occupy a unique position within the regulatory landscape. Unlike “regular” captive animals covered by the AWA alone, captive members of an ESA-listed species enjoy an extra set of protections courtesy of the ESA. So far, the Miami Seaquarium courts have failed to grasp this basic point.

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