Whales and dolphins should get “human rights” to life and liberty because of mounting evidence of their intelligence, a group of conservationists and experts in philosophy, law and ethics said Sunday.
…Japan, Norway and Iceland, the main whaling nations, oppose such arguments that would outlaw hunting or even keeping the mammals in marine parks. They have long said there is no real evidence that they are smarter, for instance, than cows or pigs.
Participants at a University of Helsinki conference said ever more studies show the giant marine mammals have human-like self-awareness, an ability to communicate and organize complex societies, making them similar to some great apes.
“We affirm that all cetaceans as persons have the right to life, liberty and wellbeing,” they said in a declaration after a two-day meeting led by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS).
Thomas White, director of the Center for Ethics and Business at Loyola Marymount University in California who was at the Helsinki talks, said dolphins can recognize themselves in a mirror, an ability rare in mammals that humans only acquire at about 18 months of age.
“Whaling is ethically unacceptable,” he told Reuters. “They have a sense of self that we used to think that only human beings have.”
Look, I’m going to shock some people here by agreeing that dolphins and whales are just as smart as people. For example, I was once in New York and I have to tell you: that is one phenomenal city. It was totally built by dolphins…oh wait, come to think of it, it was built by people wasn’t it?
Hmmm, well there was this time I was reading this awesome blog post by a whale and…oh, actually that was written by a human being, too.
Well okay, how about the phone? That’s one incredible invention and we wouldn’t have them if it wasn’t for dolphins…oh — that was invented by people, too, right?
Come to think of it, whales and dolphins haven’t built anything – because They’re animals. They swim around in the ocean.
Yes, dolphins look kind of cute and “Free Willy” was an okay movie, so I can understand if some people don’t like the idea of eating them. Well, guess what? You don’t have to eat them if you don’t want to do it. I love dogs and I actually make fun of people who eat them — but that doesn’t mean we need to give them “human rights” and demand that South Korea stop eating them.
As a matter of fact, given our insanely overlawyered culture, the last thing we need to do is give any kind of animal “human rights” or we’ll be buried in class action lawsuits on behalf of whales and chimps from now until the next century. So, when you think about dolphins and whales, just remember that they’d eat you and everyone you care about if they could — plus they’re animals — so they don’t deserve human rights.