photo: NOAA via flickr
This isn't the first time the subject of rights for whales has come up and let's hope it's not the last: At a two-day meeting in Helsinki led by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society conservationists, philosophers and lawyers have come out saying that cetaceans should be granted the equivalent of human rights.
photo: Steve Jurvetson via flickr
Based on an increasing body of knowledge that shows whales and dolphins having a level of self-awareness and complex societies as humans do, the group said,
We affirm that all cetaceans as persons have the right to life, liberty and wellbeing. (Reuters)
Evidence cited as to cetacean awareness, intelligence and culture Hal Whitehead, professor of biology at Dalhousie University, said that sperm whales restrict their sonar use so as not to deafen those around them. Other biologists pointed to dolphin's ability to recognize themselves in mirrors as a key element of self-awareness.
Sign the Declaration of Cetacean Rights
The ten points of Declaration of Cetacean Rights (which is now available for you to add your name to) read:
- 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.
- All cetaceans have the right to freedom of movement and residence within their natural environment.
- No cetacean is the property of any State, corporation, human group or individual.
- Cetaceans have the right not to be subject to the disruption of their cultures.
- The rights, freedoms, and norms set forth in this Declaration should be protected under international and domestic law.
- Cetaceans are entitled to an international order in which these rights, freedoms and norms can be fully realized.
- No State, corporation, human group, or individual should engage in any activity that undermines these rights, freedoms, or norms.
- Noting in this Declaration shall prevent a State from enacting stricter provisions for the protection of cetacean rights.
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More on Whales & Dolphins:
Scientists Say Dolphins Should Be Granted Non-Human Person Status
Modern Robin Hood Frees Endangered Whale by Cutting Rope with Crossbow
Sea Shepherd Harassment Cuts Japanese Whale Catch in Half