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Natural World

Dolphins to be classed "non-human persons" ?

January 3, 2010 | Comment icon 51 comments



Image Credit: (Flickr) Zest-pk
Dolphins have been declared to be the world's second most intelligent species, should they also be considered "people" ?
It has long been thought that dolphins and other intelligent species should be treated better. Now that dolphins have been classed as more intelligent than even chimps some scientists are calling for dolphins to be considered "non-human persons" and suggested that keeping them captive is immoral.
Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as “non-human persons”.


Source: Times Online | Comments (51)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #42 Posted by mutationman 13 years ago
Why not? They are like rats, like rats you can find them everywhere in the world, they are an extremely adaptable and successful generalist species. Like rats. I've seen a lot of dolphins and a lot of lack of compassion and I've seen a lot of instictual behaviour being mistook for compassion. What examples of behaviour have you observed yourself that led you to the conclusion they are compassionate? I'm not saying they can't be, some animals have shown signs that they do have empathy but it is notoriously hard to prove and usually occurs in animals that live in close knit groups, which is a co... [More]
Comment icon #43 Posted by Cetacea 13 years ago
Almost all of what you say here, could apply to humans aswell imo. Would you like to elaborate? Though, yes, humans are definitely like rats As I said, basic motivations are probably the same yes, it's the lengths to which people go that in my opinion 'makes compassion'. It's when the benefits do not outweigh the gain imo, that you can make a case for compassion in non-human animals. Simply because you have to go by evidene not on guesswork and interpretation, unfair maybe but we do have to compensate for the ludicrous amount of anthropomorphisation that strikes when people look at dolphins. A... [More]
Comment icon #44 Posted by cetacean 11 years ago
There is a lot of misinformation being posted here. First off, dolphins have never, ever killed a single human being. Secondly, it is well documented that dolphins have saved humans many times. This behavior has also been demonstrated in the lab. Why would it come as a surprise that a creature with a brain that has more in common with human brains than that of the ape show altruistic and even ethical behavior toward humans? It is likely that they are just as curious about us. As a matter of fact, dolphins and some whales are the only species that seek out interplay with humans in the wild.... ... [More]
Comment icon #45 Posted by cetacean 11 years ago
Utter tripe. This stupid myth needs to be seriously expunged. If there are dolphins around you and a white shark of a tiger shark show up you will notice the dolphins do one thing, leave. Sharks eat dolphin. Sharks are not interested in eating people and dolphins bite people just as much as sharks do, it just happens that sharks have much sharper teeth (most attacks are also provoked). Sharks won't try to rape you, dolphin will. Elephants are extremely dangerous animals and kill far more people than sharks do. In fact elephants, especially African, are one of the most dangerous animals on the ... [More]
Comment icon #46 Posted by cetacean 11 years ago
This is the problem with the whole, giving rights to animals, if you're going to give dolphins human rights, we'll have a lot of bottlenoses in court for rape and murder.... There is no problem with giving dolphins elevated status as "non-human persons". They have demonstrated that they fulfill the requirement of "personhood" if you will; they are a special case. They are arguably as intelligent as humans if not more so; they have a language and a culture. No other animal in the animal kingdom has the brain size required for a language on the level that humans have. They seem to have a moral c... [More]
Comment icon #47 Posted by H.H. Holmes 11 years ago
Some dolphins have tried to rape women. Yeah, they aren't as innocent as they look.
Comment icon #48 Posted by Soul Kitchen 11 years ago
Oh sure, because if they were dumb, it would be moral to mistreat them. But the farther from sentience an animal is, the less it matters to most to mistreat them. Realistically, not all living things are equal. A tree doesn't need the same rights as a man. The issue is of where to draw the line, although the second most intelligent animal should be a given.
Comment icon #49 Posted by Soul Kitchen 11 years ago
Utter tripe. This stupid myth needs to be seriously expunged. If there are dolphins around you and a white shark of a tiger shark show up you will notice the dolphins do one thing, leave. Sharks eat dolphin. Sharks are not interested in eating people and dolphins bite people just as much as sharks do, it just happens that sharks have much sharper teeth (most attacks are also provoked). Sharks won't try to rape you, dolphin will. Elephants are extremely dangerous animals and kill far more people than sharks do. In fact elephants, especially African, are one of the most dangerous animals on the ... [More]
Comment icon #50 Posted by H.H. Holmes 11 years ago
Dolphins have, in some instances, protected humans from sharks. I don't know if there is any video of this happening, but there have been many first hand accounts of dolphins "protecting" humans from shark attacks. Here is one article about a man who was getting attacked by a Great White shark, he would have died, but a pod of dolphins came and formed a protective ring around him. My link
Comment icon #51 Posted by cetacean 11 years ago
The reason for this is probably: Obviously all animals should be treated respectfully but some animals may be more likely to suffer more under certain conditions which is why certain species of animals-like dolphins- do particularly poorly in zoos. Where did you read that? It's just that I find it a bit strange, not because of the human cruelty involved sadly, that I can see happening but because bottlenose dolphins (which general term dolphin is most often used to refer to) live in a fission-fusion society, the longest and strongest association are actually between adult male pairs (which are... [More]


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