Hmm… Scientists Say that Dolphins Should be Treated as”non-Human Persons”

The article below appeared in the Times Online (UK Edition) reports that some scientists are now designating dolphins as “non-human persons” that should have both moral standing and rights. I’d like to present excerpts from the article here and then comment below. The article is available by click the title just below:

Scientists Say Dolphins Should be Treated as “Non-Human Persons.”

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”. Studies into dolphin behaviour have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence.

The researchers argue that their work shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing. Some 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die in this way each year. “Many dolphin brains are larger than our own and second in mass only to the human brain when corrected for body size,” said Lori Marino, a zoologist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who has used magnetic resonance imaging scans to map the brains of dolphin species and compare them with those of primates.

“The neuroanatomy suggests psychological continuity between humans and dolphins and has profound implications for the ethics of human-dolphin interactions,” she added.

…Marino and Reiss will present their findings at a conference in San Diego, California, next month, concluding that the new evidence about dolphin intelligence makes it morally repugnant to mistreat them.  Thomas White, professor of ethics at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, who has written a series of academic studies suggesting dolphins should have rights, will speak at the same conference. “The scientific research . . . suggests that dolphins are ‘non-human persons’ who qualify for moral standing as individuals,” he said.

A few thoughts of my own:

  1. Beware –The title of the article is poor. Beware of titles that begin “Scientists say…” Ok, how many? One, few, thousands? What kind of scientists? What is their standing in the scientific community?  etc. The full article which you can read gives us little of this information. We only hear of several scientists by name, along with some admittedly fascinating findings.
  2. How is the word “person” understood here? I am not a very good philosopher but I remember Boethius’ definition of a person: “an individual substance of a rational nature.”  Now to demonstrate intelligence is not the same as to to demonstrate rationality or the capacity to reason. However, arguments could go on forever as to how to define rationality even if the moderns accepted Boethus’ definition. But it might help if these scientists could give us their working definition of “person.”
  3. Humans have a dignity that transcends mere intelligence – But let’s just say for the sake of argument that we accepted the point that they were some how persons. We already accept the existence of “non-human persons” since angels (who are not human) are persons. But from a Christian point of view this would still not change the fact that human persons have a special dignity that transcends our brain power. We are not special merely because we’re so smart and have these big brains. We are special because we are made in the image and likeness of God. Scriptures grants to man this very special prerogative. For example, when God made Adam it said that God took dust  from the earth, formed the man and then breathed into his nostrils so that man became “a living being”  (cf Gen 2:4ff) Adam (and later Eve) carried the very breath (Spirit of God) within them. This is never said of any other creature. Further, to no other creature did God ever say, “Let us make him in our image.”(Gen 1:26). Indeed God goes further to distinguish the human person from other creatures when he says: “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth,  and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Gen 1:26-27).  Hence, beyond the question brain power or perceptible intelligence, the human person has a special dignity. This is made even more significant at the Incarnation of Jesus: “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son…‘ (Heb 1:13). Now I understand that these Scripture quotes will hold no weight in a science discussion.  I only mention them here so that we Christians do not  go running off in silly directions following merely the word of scientists. There is more to human dignity than intelligence or our ability to socialize. We have special dignity due to the prerogatives and distinctions  God has given us.
  4. Rights for Dolphins? How about Duties? Now, if it is true that Dolphins are “persons” with “rights” does it not also follow that they have responsibilities? Can we fine them for bad behavior? Can we punish or imprison them if they kill unjustly. There ARE stories of dolphins getting violent. Should we arrest them and bring them to trial? How rational are they really? After all some like to claim thay are “even smarter than humans!” It is true that we do not hold every human person responsible for what they do even if it is wrong. For example a three year old child would not be brought up on charges even if they slug their playmate in the eye. However, we do punish them in age appropriate ways. Some argue that dolphins have brains just as well developed as a three year old child.  Hence, should we school (oh, bad pun) dolphins and punish them in certain ways when they get out of line? Just asking. But I am not merely being flippant (oops another pun!). I am asking for distinctions to be made and for us to be a bit more careful before we run off and effusively pour forth titles upon animals.
  5. Careless thinking – Indeed, we ought to think through what we are really saying and be a bit more careful in how we speak. We live in rather silly times really and it seems we have lost touch with basic principles of philosophy and the fact that words mean things. If you ask me, we lack intellectual discipline in many areas and are very careless in how we speak, use words and grasp ancient philosophical and theological principles. Dolphins are smart seemingly social creatures. I like dolphins. The are magnificent creatures. (They are cute too since they seem to have a permanent smile on their face). But a dolphin is just a dolphin. For all their “brilliance” they do not build cities, write poetry, discuss philosophy, debate morality, collect art, build temples or worship God. They are dolphins after all.
  6. I’ll go you one better! As for their rights, I am not sure. I know this however, we do well to respect these creatures which do seem to live at a kind of higher stage than many animals. But respecting them isn’t about their rights, it’s about me being human. And while we’re talking about being human, let’s get around to protecting  baby humans in the womb before we worry about conferring rights on dolphins. “Save the Dolphins?” How about “Save the Baby Humans!”

Ok Your Turn. Comments are open and ready! Remember, I am not good in philosophy so some of you philosopher types might be able to help. But remember, use English!

50 Replies to “Hmm… Scientists Say that Dolphins Should be Treated as”non-Human Persons””

  1. I remember reading something by Cardinal Ratzinger on the concept of “the person,” of how the word “persona” is derived from the Greek for the character mask used by actors in Greek theater. I think the discussion was in connection with a discussion on the Trinity. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I did just find this interesting article by him (in PDF) — Concerning the notion of person in theology — which I’ll read and get back to you on the question.

    In any event, it appears that there has long been a movement back toward a kind of animism, nature worship, etc., all while simultaneously tearing down humanity. Global warmism is an example of this.

    1. OK, that article wasn’t as helpful as I thought it might be. Maybe someone smarter than me will see some application here.

      Still, it is interesting how unborn babies, people with brain damage, Jews, and black people, have been held not to be “persons,” while the “personhood” of animals and trees has been held to be inviolable.

  2. “For all their “brilliance” they do not build cities, write poetry, discuss philosophy, debate morality, collect art, build temples or worship God. They are dolphins after all.”

    And what are the dolphins doing to cure the common cold, fight poverty, look for a cure for cancer, protect society from predators, develop alternative energy platforms etc.?

    These sentiments of the “scientists” (plural, so I guess there are at least two) remind me of the bumper stickers that say “My (insert dog breed here) is smarter than your honor student.” And yet how does your (insert dog breed here) advance human society even one iota? We have forgotten that stewardship of our resources and and husbandry of our animals is an obligation of mankind. We are not on the same plane as the animal kingdom, but are above it.

    And yes, what are the obligation of animals in nature aside from simply being members of the “circle of life” or the food-chain? Perhaps these “scientists” think we are no better than the other creatures???

    Nice Post Monsignor. These are definitely “interesting times”. The Book of Wisdom Chapter 2(starting with Wisdom 1:16) describes contemporary civil society to a “T” bearing out the truth of Qoheleth’s statement that “there is nothing new under the sun.”

  3. Since God is three Persons, a person ought to be like Him. Moreover, Jesus Christ is not a human person but a Divine Person. Therefore, we find that a person is not defined as a being with flesh, blood, and soul but is a being like God. How much like God? In His Image and Likeness. What is His Image and Likeness? Jesus Christ, firstly, and the human soul, secondly. For Jesus is God Incarnate and the soul is a spirit like God, who is Spirit, and man is not an animal with a spirit nor a spirit in a material body but is a body and soul, matter and spirit, joined at conception when God creates the human soul and will be rejoined again at the catholic resurrection.

    1. Heresy Flag! “Jesus Christ is not a human person but a Divine Person.” He is both-one person with both natures. I am no theologian, but the Church is pretty emphatic about that one.

      1. Mal, Nick is right. The early councils of the church said Jesus is also a human person. He had to be or his sacrifice (propitiation) would not have been sufficient to save us. That’s why animal sacrifice was not sufficient.

      2. FOr the record, Jesus is a Divine person with a human nature. I am not sure Mal why you threw a flag since I think this is what Nick is saying, or did I miss something?

  4. In Roman Dutch law, likely one of the best systems in the world, as a basis for law, and Canon Law- a person is that which is capable of rights as well as of duties. While South Africa’s activist courts forget the meaning of capable- and its implications on future capabilities, we here could certainly never rationally give any animals rights- only humans the rights to enjoy animals by treating them well!

  5. Very good points Msgr. It seems to me that the animal rights and environmental movements essentially challenge two big philosophical/religious truths. First, that there is a God (or that we can know Him). Second, that Man has a special relationship with God (indeed, made in His image and likeness). Unfortunately, I would bet there are a large number of scientists who would directly support (or be sympathetic to) the “non-human person” status for dolphins. Once you deny God, then your world view is entirely different. Without God, everything is just a matter of degree and utility. We’re good a poetry… they’re good a swimming. Vive la difference! Personhood won’t end with dolphins, either! (Extreme tree hugger You Tube)

    1. Incredibly bizzare video John. THanks for sharing the link. I have seen it once before but had forgotten about it. But the bottom line is that you are right. Deny God and the special dignity of the human person and you are on very shaky ground. I thought of the tree worshippers (druids?) in the video and wonder if they had thought of the fact that keeling in the grass and dirt might cause harm to the microbes in the soil or that they might be killing young grass shoots and preeventing them from becomeing Old Growth Grasses. In fact their very existence might becausing harm to other organisms. According to new pollution standards, everytime they exhale they are emitting a pollutant called CO2. Perhaps they should stop? I mean rally the tortured logic does ultimately lead here does it not.

  6. Good day Monsignor. Dolphins like dogs are friendly animals so we love them in return. If there is love, there is respect. I guess the researchers got emotionally attached to their subjects. If we become emotional,sometimes our reasoning abilities suffers. I`m not a philosopher too so its just my humble opinion. Best regards to you Monsignor.

  7. We have computers displaying considerable intelligence and the ability to communicate. What say the scientists? We must not judge the entire scientific community on the shallow observations of the few.

  8. For too long, dolphins and other cetaceans have been getting a free ride, harvesting fish but failing to pay taxes like other fisher-persons. Today’s global economic crisis makes it clear that every person must pay his share. And then there’s the matter of their failure to wear pants….

  9. One must confess to an emotional response to the scientists’ use of the word person when referring to dolphins. No matter how ‘intelligent’ they may be or how sophisticated their power of ‘communication’ may appear, it is unlikely that scientists can credit these creatures with rational thought. Thank you, Monsignor.

  10. Fish are of a lower nature. St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theological Pt. 1 Q. 72 at Reply Obj.1 states: The different grades of life which are found in different living creatures can be discovered from the various ways in which Scripture speaks of them. . . But amongst animals, those that live on land are, generally speaking more perfect that birds and fishes, not because the fish is devoid of memory, as Basil upholds and Augustine rejects, but because their limbs are more distinct and their generation of a higher order, (yet some imperfect animals, such as bees and ants are more intelligent in certain ways). Scripture, therefore, does not call fishes living creatures, but creeping creatures having life; whereas it does call land animals living creatures on account of their more perfect life, and seems to imply that fishes are merely bodies having in them something of a soul, whilst land animals, from the higher perfection of life, are, as it were, living souls with bodies subject to them. But the life of man, as being the most perfect grade, is not said to be produced, like the life of other animals, by earth or water, but immediately by God. In part 1 of said summa, at question 39; Person is subject to essence; whence it is called suppositum (Latin) or hypostasis (Greek).

    1. I remember on eof my philosophy teachers saying that dogs do not talk because they lack a voice box but cheifly because they have nothing to say. It is a little like what THomas is saying here: that the faculties of the soul give rise to the form of the body. Hence, more developed bodies bespeak a higher form of life. For the record, as one of our other readers has noted, Dolphins are not fish, but your point remains in terms of the basic form of the body beng less articulated and hence a “lower form” It will add however, dolphins SEEM to be very social as compared to say a cow. We may in fact be projecting a lot of ourselves on to them but it is hard to think of a dolphin as a “lower form of life” than a cow. Still, they are not persons.

      1. Some years ago my husband and I were watching an episode of the cartoon “Dexter’s Laboratory” in which Dexter put together a device to translate a dog’s bark. Dexter was rather disappointed with what he heard from the dog:

        Look at the thing! Look at the thing! Look at the thing!
        Food for me? Food for me? Food for me?

        If memory serves at the end of the episode Dexter tossed his device, declaring it useless.

  11. Oh, that we were as close to this notion on the subject of abortion! That the unborn would have champions in the secular world as these scientists on their side.

  12. Let’s throw this consideration into the mix —

    Corporations and like entities have long been held to be (non-human) legal persons.

  13. Regardless of whether or not you believe that dolphins are non-human persons, the tragedy of this matter is not their relative place on the evolutionary scale; rather it is the continued slaughter of these beings by Japan, Norway, and Iceland. The Japanese Fisheries Agency claims that their Antarctic whale hunts are conducted in the name of research but the truth is that the meat from the thousands of whales that are killed each year ends up in the fish markets of Japan. Similarly, they justify the annual butchery of tens of thousands of dolphins in Taiji by saying that the fishermen have always done this and that the world should respect cultural differences. By that same perverted logic, we should tolerate all acts of brutality as long as there is precedence. Quite apart from the danger that whale and dolphin meat presents to humans due to the potentially deadly levels of mercury, there is another reason to stop this killing, which is that it is just wrong. Unlike cattle, chickens, or tuna, whales and dolphins are sentient and intelligent species, and for all practical purposes they are not a renewable resource, once they are gone from the oceans we will never see their kind again. In the name of all that is good and decent, the people of these three countries should demand that their governments stop this slaughter. Now is the time, humanity is the reason, and they are the only people on this planet who can put an end to this brutal and archaic practice forever. Please read my blog

    1. Yes, I think your point is important and I think a kind of reverence for these seemingly gentle creatures is called for. We ought to avoid killing them as when for example we fish in ways that kill unecessarily. I was not aware that some cultures eat dolphin. However, I cannot say that they should not be able to do that just becuase I like dolphins. If their numbers are endandered that is another matter but they seem quite plentiful in the waters of our ocean here on the East Coast of the USA. Are dolphins endangered?

  14. I can certainly agree with the intent of the proposal by some scientists. In fact, as stewards of God’s creation we have a spiritual and moral obligation to protect all of creation. If that means assigning some special rights to dolphins, fine.

    However, Dolphins are not persons and to call them “non-human person” is an oxymoron. Words are extremely important and I am not willing to give on the established definitions. The term “non-Human Persons” should not be applied to animals of any kind. Simply put, animals, no matter how smart, are not persons.

    This same disregard for conventional word use causes all sorts of confusion in areas of abortion (murder of children) and gay partnerships (sorry, not marriage).

    1. Yeah, at least emotionally I could agree that dolphins could have a special designation such as forbidding them to be harvested like other fish. However, as I said above I am not sure I am comfortable telling other cultures they can’t eat them especially if they have done so for a long time. In some cultures the cow is sacred. But we eat them! Anyway, I personally have no problem giving them a speical designation in our culture like we do for dogs and cats. We just don’t eat them!

  15. Grandpa Tom,

    Dolphins are not fish. Just thought you might want to know.

  16. Wow. This certainly is an interesting topic. I happen to be a scientist who made a little progress by believing in God and believing his word. Many long stories, but I found that using his word as my foundation helped me make faster progress. A short example would be realizing that God gave us all the plants and animals for a reason. He says consider the ant who stores food for the winter, etc. Asprin comes from the cambium (part of the bark) of Birch trees. And many others. I kind of agree that dolphins have intelligence and should be treated humanely. I think it is in God’s plan to systematically (as in one step at a time) bring these other creatures to full cognizence.

    What am I taling about? Adam was already inteligent when God formed him from the dust (dirt). He named all the animals, enjoyed gardening, etc. but was lonely. Then God gave him Eve and things were great . . . for a while. It wasn’t until they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that they knew they were naked, were able to rationalize a lie to defend their behavior (Adam pointed the finger at Eve, and Eve at the serpent), etc. I think we are in a stage of God’s plan for humans. Since he is going to make us kings to have dominion over all of these creatures, I think the early step is to weed out Satan’s offspring from God’s, per-se, and teach us, future judges, to be merciful to them, since we will be looking back on how much mercy we received.

    On the other hand, there was a donkey who spoke up to warn an Old Testament Priest that he would not go on because he could see that an angle would strike them both down if he continued. Maybe all the other animals are perfectly cognizent of God, the angels, and all his other creatures and don’t talk because God told them not to. Maybe the dolphins aren’t so good. They know more of God’s plan than we do and are just kissing up for a position we will be allowed to delegate in the near future.

    I lean toward ‘they didn’t eat the seaweed of the knowledge of good and evil’ yet concept. That’s why they don’t know they are naked. Or maybe the serpent just didn’t get the chance to tempt them. Or maybe . . . we should just focus on the assignments we already have . . . get his word out.

      1. What I’m saying is that I look at it from the standpoint that God has been around for eternity and will continue to be around for eternity. He has shown us that Adam and Eve were like kids in that they were not as cognizant (fully aware) of everything going on around them. Babies could care less about clothes. As they develop, they become aware. Adam and Eve didn’t become aware until they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The point was that they may never have become aware if they didn’t eat that fruit, unless of course God had another way of making them fully cognizant without temptation. Anyway, the other animals may not yet have been exposed to whatever it is that allows us to be as aware as we are.

        If it is in God’s plan to eventually make all the animals as cognizant as we are, and we are supposed to be their keepers, shepards, kings, leaders, whatever, in God’s planned organization – we just might be at a very early stage in his long term plan for us. And if this is true, part of the plan may be to teach us to be merciful. He may not want to reveal to the other animals who we were before He made them cognizant. They may all be in their current state temporarily. After all, He said the lion will lay down with the lamb and the viper with the child (or something like that – I don’t feel like looking it up right now).

        Since the primary question in the article appears to be whether dolphins should be treated like humans (“as non-human persons”), and God essentially said He was giving us dominion over all the creatures of this world, it makes sense to treat them as though they are intelligent beings, like Adam and Eve were before eating the forbidden fruit, who are not yet fully cognizant, but later may become as aware as we are.

        Remember, we still are not fully aware. Elisha had to pray to ask that his apprentice’s spiritual eyes be opened so he could see God’s army was all around them, protecting them from Ahab’s army. The angles are more cognizant than we are of God’s spiritual world to the extent God allows them. We assume we are more aware than the animals. Some or all of them may be at a higher state of awareness than we are and just playing their role in our development because God told them to do so. After all, though we know there are angles amoung us, assuming we believe the Bible, how often do the angles draw attention to themselves. I just assume we are at a higher state than the animals because we wear clothes.

        Overall, I think we should treat them humanely, though if you are hungry, God said you can eat them. Since I’m not God, I’m not going to attempt to change anything he said. But like Abraham, Jacob, Mary and some of the other folks in the Bible, I’m going to take to heart, contemplate, and in this case speculate on some of the less obvious things the Bible said with regard to a speculative topic.

      2. Well all this sounds a lot like Teliard’s omega point stuff that was rebuffed by the vatican 40 years ago. How say you? We are not becoming, we have a stable nature, fallen to be sure and capable of microimprovement but not macro change. We will not morph into some higher conciousness etc. Our basic faculties are stable and unchanging in this sense.

  17. #3: “We have special dignity due to the prerogatives and distinctions God has given us.” With our unborn, young, challenged and elderly population in mind, whose special dignity is often overlooked, can I add one thing to the end of your statement? So it reads, “We have special dignity due to the prerogatives and distinctions God has given us. This dignity remains special only if it is preserved, protected and valued in each and every person, at each and every point on the continuum of life.”

    An Alzheimer’s Request

    Don’t ask me to remember
    what I cannot understand.
    Just listen to me ramble
    kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

    I am confused beyond your concept.
    I am saddened, sick, and lost.
    I need you for my safety
    regardless of the cost.

    Don’t loose your patience with me
    Please don’t scold me, curse, or cry.
    I can’t help the way I am acting.
    I can’t be different ‘though I try.

    Made in the image and likeness of God
    my dignity I’d like to keep.
    Stay close and simply love me
    as Jesus loved His sheep.

    1. This is great. I haven’t yet been stricken with Alzheimer’s, but this pretty much describes me to a T just as I am now!

  18. To G. Miller and others: The article was a quote from St. Thomas Aquinas. You want to be technical. Aquinas was quoting Scripture as marine life without distinction between genus and species. He was simply refering to life under the sea and ocean. Either way Dolphin in the American Heritage Dictionary is a Fish. Read: Dolphin: 1. Any of various marine mammals, chiefly of the family Delphinidae, related to whales but generally smaller and having a beaklike snout, esp. the commonwidely distributed species Delphinus delphis. 2. Eitherof two marine fishes, Corphaena hippurus or C. equesetis, having iredescent coloring. Genesis 1:20; And God said let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life. . 21; And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind. See also: Jonah 1:17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. (18) The the Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly. The point is that my comment wasn’t to argue distinctions between fish classification, but to point out the distinction in God’s creation of man and other types of marine life to point out God made man above the fishes and other life on earth. Therefore based upon evidence presented fish is used to describe marine life in Scripture without classification of species within a genus. Fish is also used in a colloquial sense as opposed to precise and appropriate names of fish for simplicity of the comment. Technical referrences are appropriate for formal biology class dealing with distinctions within marine life.

    1. I agree. The first thing God did in the Bible was creation. He distinguished plants, fish, birds, animals/beasts, and humans. If it lives in the water, it’s a fish. I would even call a crab a fish, and a penguin and animal (not a bird).

  19. Wikipedia encyclopedia defines Dolphin’s origin of the name as being Ancient Greek, and interpreted as meaning “a fish with a womb.” ok, enough for the fish versus dolphin debate. Bye now.

  20. Wow. I must live on another planet. When I read this post, the distinction between fish, mammals, genus and species never crossed my mind. The way I looked at the big picture that surrounds this post is that if something lives its entire life in water, it’s not human. If it’s not human, it’s not a person. Trying to put non-human and person in the same sentence sounds like a great marketing ploy to me. A writer’s goal is to capture an audience – a researcher’s goal is to hopefully conduct valid and reliable research. I’m not sure the two always have the same agenda. My brilliant conclusion (a hint of sarcasm lies here), is that we need to consider the source of information we read.

  21. Are you having a “baby”? So, what should we call these “things” when a mommy gets pregnant? …malignant cells, fetus, non-human “humanoids” or like the dolphins?

    The problem with the modern world is, being upside down – no problem killing the child inside the womb but it is a horrible and barbaric thing to kill a butterfly.

  22. All good points. I know everyone’s got an opinion and they start to get a little more relevant once in the reference to GOD. But I think that we’ve forgotten about the topic at hand. I respect what’s been said. But I wonder why GOD would make dolphins (and not always as I’ve seen) such a friend to man, when most of the time, the two are so out of reach? I no longer buy evolution one bit, and the only thing I can think is where Adam was given by GOD the blessed and wondrous task of naming all the animals. -Now I don’t know if he had time for all the fish/fish-like creatures, but as with him, we were given the task of ruling over them and thus all creation. I’m sure it got a little harder when the T. Rex went maverick after The Fall of Man, but maybe sometime in between a bond might’ve been made. The problem is that today, while the enemy holds the puppet strings of the masses, they believe in a fairly-new god, dubbed, “Scientists”, and to make things worse, the people who do not know JESUS CHRIST, are teaching the dogma about evolution and who can be called “a person” (as stated above) to our kids. Fortunately, there is still a strong Christian base to our country for the time being, who can be at least called upon, to be asked this blessed question as to why dolphins (of all creatures) are generally intelligent and friendly in behavior. Only Christians can be trusted, and I believe GOD gave us mysteries like this one so that we can be drawn to Him.

  23. Its is a clear as the sky! Someone been so busy cooking propaganda using in the name of science to declare one animal specie a non human person status; did they say how many scientist agree and shown strong evidence to back it up? this is the tricky part. Someone is stretching the truth that bother’s me a lot because half truth is always a lie even what angle you will see it; still it is a lie! No doubt dolphins has admirable intelligence and has a lot of unique qualities but its wrong to equate them to us human “person ” have we lost our mind! Please don’t get me wrong, I’m also for the protection and welfare of the Dolphins. what i don’t like some people using a form of manipulation of truth, and wrong method to get the agenda adhere by everyone “The protection of Dolphins”.
    If we allow this half truth to go on then this gonna be a precedent anyone with their own agenda would just simply claim and cite this to declare another animal specie as a person. My god it be careless for us! we would be creating a dilemma now if that would happen their is no clear difference anymore between who is animal or a person.

  24. Hello people,

    I think the enlightenment of humankind will probably include defining many highly intelligent “animals” as persons. And it may come to the point in the future where those “persons” will have a choice in how they integrate into our society, most probably not as food sources. Dogs may one day agree to be pets or service dogs or guard dogs or heard dogs. Horses may agree to work as race horses or pack horses or show horses. Dolphins may choose to live and work among humans. I can’t say for sure, but I can say that the treatment many animals receive at the hand of us humans is barbaric and cruel. We have a saying “Humane”… People can be imprisoned for the “in-humane” treatment of animals. Do we treat our fellow humans “Humanely”? Should we not treat higher thinking animals in humane ways? I say open up your minds and think about how life should be for animals and people together. In Genesis does Adam mistreat his fellow inhabitants of Eden? Is Adam cruel and abusive to animals? There are some creatures that we can surely eat without a whole lot of concern for their well-being or treatment, most fish, some cattle seem pretty simple minded. But… dogs, horses, dolphins, apes and maybe elephants show intelligence far greater than other beasts. I think if you examine the “cultures” of these animals they all exhibit characteristics that we consider to be honorable and very human in nature. They love, they think and reason (some more than others) they show a distinct sense of self and personal well-being. They show a societal behavior that can demonstrate a community and a sense of greater purpose in action. They can demonstrate self-sacrifice as well as selfishness. Some take only a single mate in a life time. I think we could argue that in some cases these animals have demonstrated even better characteristics than many human persons. But, using any kind of religious methodology or dogma to distinguish who is a person would be completely irrational and insane. Religious dogma from whatever religion is not the authority on rational thinking. Use science and maybe philosophical arguments, but for goodness sake do not apply any religious thinking to this issue. It is not a religious argument. What if a different religion were to come in power… What if that religion makes only men “Persons” or only women. What if only religious leaders were “Persons”. No, leave religion out of it. – Jaxx Noamon
    [email protected]

Comments are closed.