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Are whales and dolphins smart enough to get special rights?

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posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:03 PM

May 21, 2010 10:19 EDT
Some conservationists and experts on philosophy and ethics reckon that whales and dolphins are so intelligent that they should be given rights to life like humans. That could mean extra pressure on whalers in Japan, Norway and Iceland to end their hunts.

The focus on rights is a shift after conservationists successfully won a ban on almost all whale hunts from 1986, arguing that they had been harpooned close to extinction.

And in recent years (with evidence that some stocks are big enough to withstand hunts), many opponents say the moratorium should stay in place, arguing that shooting grenade-tipped harpoons at whales can mean a long, cruel death.

A conference in Helsinki starting today is called “Cetacean Rights” and is about “fostering moral and legal change”. The experts hope to come up with a declaration during the weekend — if the idea of special rights for marine mammals catches on, it could also limit the ability of marine parks to keep the mammals in captivity.

This is only about half of the article, but I thought it interesting this is being seriously discussed.

I realize there have been numerous studies conducted over the years, and when Googled several of links to information are presented. One such article that I discovered Science Daily even references that the humpback whale shares some of the same type of brain cells with humans.

This would bring up some interesting questions, I would think. Some of which would be:

If special rights to whales and dolphins were to be conferred,

Would this actually change anything with the way whales are hunted?
Would the "rights" of these species supercede the treatment of other species including humans?
Should these species be treated any differently than they already are?

I'm sure there are other questions and/or considerations. Does anyone have a more in depth knowledge of how whale and dolphin intelligence is measured? And is their intellect on par enough to be granted "special rights" as is being advocated?

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:16 PM
Yes they are. No they ain't getting any.

Even amongst ourselves we are divided.

This thread is about killer whales. there is some info on their intelligence included.
You will like it. (I think )
Orcas are more than one species, gene study shows

~ SK

[edit on 5/22/2010 by Sinter Klaas]

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:23 PM
I don’t know about whales (heard they aren’t that smart), but dolphins definitely are smart. Just because they don’t have thumbs like us, and the ability to make things, does not make them any less self aware/conscious.

[edit on 22-5-2010 by Maddogkull]

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:26 PM
reply to post by Sinter Klaas

Thanks for the link. You really did your homework with that one.
I will have to go through and read all of that this evening.

I seem to recall the media caught them hunting offshore in southern Cali awhile back where the pod methodically drove a whale calf into the shallows to drown. There was definitely some intelligence involved with that. They seemed to know exactly what they were doing.

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:28 PM
reply to post by Maddogkull

You are definitely right.

Dolphins and killer whales are scaled only 2 grades lower on the intelligence scale then humans where a chimp is even 5 or 6. However unless we learn to communicate with them we will never know.

The fact is that Killer whale brains are much bigger and have a larger and more developed frontal cortex then us.

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:38 PM
reply to post by Wayne60

Yes, they are intelligent, but how can you even ask a question like that when you see what we do as a species to EVERYTHING, including ourselves?
WE aren't smart enough for special treatment, how can we give that distinction to another life form?
It's like asking the monkeys to be nice to the ants because they use tools and live in colonies.
The monkeys just go... "?"

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:41 PM
Short answer, NO. They should be conserved and protected within reason for future generations to come.

The idea that giving them "rights" would somehow stop Pacific cultures from poaching these amazing animals I think is a bit over optimistic. I would hate for lets say a couple of nations worth of people to starve to death so they dont infringe on the rights of a non human animal.

Maybe the focus should be on finding alternative food sources than to start to equate the animal kingdom with your son or your mother. Im pretty certain no one would sacrifice either for flipper personally.

Not even sure the Asian cultures would actually starve without the harvesting of these mammals, but starting down a slippery slope or IMO a sheer cliff isnt the answer.

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:42 PM
reply to post by Sinter Klaas

Yeah but their body/brain mass ratio is low isen't it? (Whales)?

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:43 PM
Why whales and dolphins? I have seen monkeys, apes that can use sign language and really communicate with humans. Why not them?

Whales do not have human brain cells. They may have brain cells similar to humans. This is a big difference. Apes have this also. Why not include them?

Sure it's wrong to over hunt a species.. or is it? Don't that happen in the wild all the time?

Do we tell animals they cannot hunt other animals? No. And sometimes a species gets wiped out.

It's a natural part of the Earths life cycle. We are the only animal who thinks we are so smart to over think the issue to stop this normal cycle. Humans are more stupid for not letting nature take it's course than interfering with nature.

Sure humans can hunt a species to extinction, though that may not be wise if you must have that food but it's still normal.

This issue has nothing to do with extinction of a species for the greater good. It has everything to do with emotionalism and how animal rights activists get their feeling of importance.

Should Whales and Dolphins be granted a human like status to protect them? No way.

Favorite quote, " Save a Hunter - Shoot a Peta activist."

[edit on 22-5-2010 by JohnPhoenix]

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:46 PM
reply to post by SiKFury

I don't think you get it. ( no offense )
Eventually humans eat each other when they are hungry. Way easier especially if you can't swim.

The rights are for recognized intelligence. Not because it could have been your mother.
That's just silly.

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:49 PM
If humans ever evolve into something of higher intelligence, would us normal humans become treated as we treat chimps and apes? I believe dolphins and whales are self aware and have all the feelings and emotions of humans. Intelligence can be an arbitrary trait. Would you hunt retards because of their intelligence? Yeah I said it! Never go full retard...

I am lucky enough to live where I see whales and dolphins all the time. They are a joy to be around when sailing and I always see them as a good omen in my travels. I would never consider hunting them....

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:51 PM
reply to post by Maddogkull

I believe the size of the brain does can not be a meassure for intelligence.

There are birds that also show intelligence far beyond we ever thought possible.
The brain of a dolphin where the body / brain ratio is not very different from humans, also show a more developed frontal cortex.

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:53 PM
reply to post by cmongo4

Actually the question posed in the title is the title of the Reuters article. I tend to agree with you that we humans have not seemed to "grown up" enough to get along with either ourselves our with our world.

Obviously though there is a group out there who is wanting to confer these "right" onto the whales and dolphins. One thought that struck me was what is their motive for bringing this up? Are they really wanting to acknowledge the intelligence? Or are they approaching another angle to curtail hunting? That is after all a very passionate topic in some circles.

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:54 PM
reply to post by JohnPhoenix

There is a difference of survival of the fittest and a plain genocide of a species. I agree that hunting is not even that bad, it happens in nature you got to do what you got to do to eat(don’t agree hunting for sport/you got to eat what you kill). But with the whaling/dolphin problem is that most places whales/dolphins are not producing enough offspring to reproduce. If we keep killing them at a steady pace they will be extinct in no time.

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 05:58 PM
reply to post by JohnPhoenix

You are right !

People forget that us humans are just as much part of nature then any other living thing/creature on this world.

However apes or dolphins are not really part of our diet. As long as there is food, I would should the hunter.
Besides that, the people that truly are starving don't eat whales.
Only Inuit, Norwegians and Japanese do. The last two are not likely to starve to death in the near future.

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 06:01 PM
reply to post by JohnPhoenix

I cannot answer why not monkeys, apes, or some other species, unless there is a certain agenda with their pursuit of this. Don't we share about 95% or 98% of our DNA with chimpanzees? Then according to Psychology Today a study done in 1999 observed Rhesus monkeys that could perform some arithmetic.

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 06:06 PM
reply to post by Sinter Klaas

Nah i "get it".

Call me a humanist at worst.

To give rights based on "suspected" intelligence would make humans guilty of specie ism.

Id hate to be one day sued by a bee hive for their collectivism and courage.

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 06:11 PM
reply to post by SiKFury

The connection with human intelligence fooled me.

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 06:16 PM
Given that dolphins give eachother names, I'd say yes, they should have those rights and shouldn't be hunted." target="_blank" class="postlink">Source

[edit on 22-5-2010 by MrXYZ]

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 06:18 PM
reply to post by MrXYZ

Your link doesn't work.

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