If you’ve braved the 2009 documentary The Cove, you may recall Japanese IWC member Joji Morishita saying;
“We have never had a convincing reason why this species is so special”
You might assume, well he would say that, but even in my attempts to educate and advocate for these animals a common response (to put it in a nutshell) is “A lot of bad stuff happens in the world, this is just one of many”. It’s not that people don’t care, and their reasons aren’t the same as Mr. Morishita’s, but both are missing the information explaining why we should care about this issue and actually do something about it, terrible things are happening, to humans, animals, the planet- and they all need immediate attention, but whales and dolphins, are in fact very special, for us, for the planet and for them.
Organisations such as WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation), strongly appeal to the idea of Cetacean Rights, very similar to our human rights, whales and dolphins fit the description of ‘person’, and to quote from a website called wearesonar.org (which is a great website I would highly recommend looking at if you’re interested)…
“While the exact definition for personhood is still debated, below is a list of traits that many believe qualify a being to be considered a legal ‘person’:
Having control over one’s actions, the ability to make decisions
Recognizing other persons
Being able to solve complex problems
Possessing cognitive sophistication
Giving dolphins and whales nonhuman personhood standing does not mean that they will ever be able to vote, or that they will be assigned jury duty. It means that they will be eligible to be given basic rights, such as the right to life, liberty and freedom from harm. This would essentially make it illegal for any human being to capture dolphins from the oceans, keep them in captivity for any purpose, or kill them.”
They are also incredibly highly evolved, a common occurrence when discussing these animals intelligence inparticular is that it is compared to human intelligence, granted we have not much else to compare but we miss a vital point.Dolphin evolution is estimated to have began over 50 million years ago – human evolution is estimated as little as 6-8 million years ago. These creatures are far more developed in their habitat than we will ever be in our own.We focus on what can they understand about our world without having much appreciation for what know about theirs, or even what we know about their home. More people have gone to the moon than they have delved into the deepest part of our ocean, the Mariana trench.
There are many, probably countless reasons these animals need rights to be protected and to be free. By the year 2100 we could face extinction of all dolphins on Earth, it’s not just that these are beautiful, self-aware beings, no animal should be harmed by us, we have no right to take away their life and the life of their families, their safety and their ability to thrive in their home, they aren’t possessions to put in a tank to show, they are souls, conscious and individual. They are special, and we need to protect them.
Thanks for reading!!!
Have a great day 🙂