Nothing Against Cetaceans, but Don’t Humans Deserve to Get Their Shit Sorted First?

Sunni's picture

I don’t know where I came across the article originally, but I bookmarked it to return to and read through at my leisure, because the title and bit I skimmed were so intriguing. I’m so glad I did.

Dolphins Are ‘People’ Say Scientists; and given that assertion as true, a movement is afoot to change how cetaceans are treated by humans. Here’s the lede and then some details further on in the report:

Dolphins deserve to be treated as non-human “persons” whose rights to life and liberty should be respected, scientists meeting in Canada have been told.

A small group of experts in philosophy, conservation and dolphin behaviour were canvassing support for a “Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans”.

They believe dolphins - and their whale cousins - are sufficiently intelligent and self-aware to justify the same ethical considerations given to humans. ....

Ethics expert Professor Tom White, from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, author of In Defence of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier, said: “Dolphins are non-human persons. A person needs to be an individual. If individuals count, then the deliberate killing of individuals of this sort is ethically the equivalent of deliberately killing a human being.

“The captivity of beings of this sort, particularly in conditions that would not allow for a decent life, is ethically unacceptable; commercial whaling is ethically unacceptable.

“We’re saying the science has shown that individuality, consciousness, self awareness, is no longer a unique human property. That poses all kinds of challenges.”

The declaration, originally agreed in May 2010, contains the statements “every individual cetacean has the right to life”, “no cetacean should be held in captivity or servitude, be subject to cruel treatment, or be removed from their natural environment”, and “no cetacean is the property of any state, corporation, human group or individual”. ....

[Psychologist Lori Marino] argued that whaling was an example of mass murder rather than a commercial operation.

“Once you shift from seeing a being as a property, a commodity, a resource, to a person, an autonomous entity that has a right to life on his or her own terms, the whole framework shifts.. this is not about harvesting resources, this is about murder,” said Dr Marino.

Wouldn’t it be splendid if governments worldwide stopped treating individual humans as “a property, a commodity, a resource”? That is exactly what the ’crats do in all their calculations regarding skimming some of our wealth for their use. Who on this planet would not see an immediate benefit from all those thefts and dismissive attitudes vanishing?

Is it cynical or mean of me to strongly suspect that none of the people participating in this campaign has ever noticed, much less thought about, this disparity?

Good for them...

When dolphins start asserting that they have rights, I will stand up for those rights- until then I will treat them with the respect I give to any living creature, while believing that rights are not transferable between species.

And you are right- until statists begin respecting the undeniably real rights* of fellow humans, it seems phony for them to worry about the rights of other species.

(*In my opinion. Yeah, I know all the arguments that say rights are a figment of the imagination, but in that case no one has a right to rule anyone else, so we are back to square one.)

Haven't met a dolphin

Haven't met a dolphin socially since before Sea World bought and closed Marineland of the Pacific -- one of the dolphins I knew best died in the move to San Diego (the company was only interested in grabbing the first orcas to breed in captivity, anything else was trivia).

I can't say if dolphins are people or not. I know they're smart. Unfortunately, all of those I've met have been in captivity, and all of them seemed cheerful as fuck. Might have been just shuckin' and jivin' for Massa.

Ward Griffiths
Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. Denis Diderot

Almost without fail, every

Almost without fail, every modern version of (insert group name here) rights that I've seen is less about rights and more about control. It's using guilt to kill dissent.

Out of curiosity, do the dolphins think that mackerel and squid have rights?


When the control freaks finally manage to control themselves and leave everyone else alone to BE sovereign individuals... then maybe we can honestly have this discussion with them.

I have no desire to eat cetaceans, any more than dogs or cats, and I wouldn't abuse any animal, but they aren't people.