Listen closely you can hear them in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there is a group of whales holding fins, and singing “We Shall Overcome.” And there is more, as you read this, retired TV Star, Flipper, is filming a commercial where he squeaks, “I am not an Animal, I am a human being.”
Why the ruckus? Because in Helsinki a conference of conservationists and experts in philosophy, law and ethics have declared whales and dolphins should get “human rights” to life and liberty because of mounting evidence of their intelligence. No this is not a Satire. Incredibly President Obama’s Czar Cass Sunstein who believe that Animals should have the right to sue in American courts wasn’t even there.
Attendees at this 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).
The WDCS is making the mistake progressive politicians make. Man does not give the right to life, liberty etc. Those natural rights were given to man from God. But maybe we can give them Obamacare and high speed internet.
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.”
Californian, gee somehow I am not surprised. In researching Dr. White, he has made a career out of trying to assign “human rights” in non-human dolphins. Somebody has to teach this guy the difference between human and humane.
Working with White at this conference was Hal Whitehead, a biology professor at Dalhousie University in Canada and an expert on deep-water whales, said there was more evidence that whales have human-like culture. Whitehead might be right, maybe we should put a camera in the ocean to see if any sperm whales are practicing Hamlet’s soliloquy after the divers from National Geographic get back on the boat.
He said that sperm whales have sonars to find fish that are so powerful that they could permanently deafen others nearby if used at full blast. Yet the whales do not use sonars as weapons, showing what Whitehead called a human-like “sense of morality.”
Morality? Maybe we can send the National Geographic guys back into the water to see if there are any whales holding two tablets inscribed with Ten Commandments.
“It’s like a group of human hunters armed with guns,” he told Reuters. “There’s a clear sense of how the sonar can be used.”
…”We want a shift to putting the individual at the center of conservation,” said Nicholas Entrup, of the WDCS. That would mean giving minke whales, relatively plentiful and most often hunted, the same protection as endangered northern right whales.
Biologist Paul Manger disagrees, he say many researchers had wrongly concluded that whales and dolphins were smart because they have big brains. He does have a point, many people have made the same mistake with Barbara Boxer and Al Franken.
“There’s nothing to separate them from other mammals — seals, lions or tigers,” Paul Manger of Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand, told Reuters. They had evolved big brains largely to keep warm in the chill waters.
Saying whales were not especially bright was not the same as advocating hunts, he said. “We protect fish stocks even though no one argues that they are intelligent,” he said.
The real point is, as said above, all Animals should be treated humanely, but that doesn’t mean they should have the same rights and protections as a human being.