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Dolphins are people too!

Dolphins are people too!

What separates man from the animals has always been our ability to empathise, to reason and to consider the repercussions of our actions.

That’s how we justify keeping our furry friends as subordinates or pets and caging other fascinating creatures in zoos, aquariums and  fun parks for our amusement.

But scientific research is increasingly showing that cetaceans – whales, dolphins and  the like – are more intelligent than we think, with the ability to reason and understand suffering.

So is keeping them locked up for our own entertainment really ethical?

According  to the experts there is enough evidence to show that we share many qualities, thought to be ‘human’, with these beings:

  • they are self aware,
  • have detailed memory and
  • have individual personalities
  • display complex social behaviour
  • they have close, long-term relationships in sub-communities (thought to be categorised by culture)
  • have the ability to  learn symbol-based codes and  to comprehend artificial human language

Hence, they argue, whales and dolphins are ‘persons’ and should be treated by us humans as such.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, Canada, the world’s biggest science conference even saw support for a Deceleration of Rights for Cetaceans!

Such a move would mean an end to whaling or the hunt for dolphins, as well as an end to their captivity and use in entertainment.

One country which is supporting the movie to recognsie the animals as persons is India.

“Dolphins should be seen as ‘non-human persons and as such should have their own specific rights'” the country’s Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided.

They have forbid keeping dolphins in captivity or for public entertainment, that extends to the country’s native Ganges river dolphin as well as the snubfin dolphin.

India has become a beacon of hope for those arguing in defence of dolphins and  have contributed to an emerging and important dialogue about the ways we think about cetaceans – as thinking, feeling beings rather than ‘cash cows’ or pets.

Flipper would be so pleased!

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One Comment on Dolphins are people too!


  • Kylie
    February 7, 2014 11:30 am

    I didn’t realise humans thought the ability to empathise was exclusive to humanity. Anyone who has had a treasured pet will tell you otherwise.

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