Thursday 20 February 2014

Dolphins in India- "non-Human Persons"

The government of India has passed one of the most significant pieces of animal rights legislation in history. It has changed the status of the order Cetacea, that is whales, dolphins and porpoises, from animal to "non-human persons", see: This means that they cannot be kept in captivity or harmed in any way. To do so would be a far more serious offence thana similar action against another species. This move comes out of the understanding that whales and dolphins are highly intelligent and conscious creatures. They have a complex language and give each other names. This is welcome news for me because I've always disliked dolphin displays at theme parks; fish don't mind being kept in an aquarium, but dolphins do suffer even though they're trained to look and act happy for the audience. Hopefully this Declaration of Rights For Cetaceans will be adopted by other countries. Should similar rights be granted to other species? Elephants, for example, are also highly intelligent, sensitive and conscious. Also primates like apes and monkeys. By what criteria do we decide which animal is worthy of this treatment or not?

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