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animal ethics

Dolphins are non-human persons

in philosophy & ethics

“India has officially recognized dolphins as non-human persons, whose rights to life and liberty must be respected. … The movement to recognize whale and dolphins as individuals with self-awareness and a set of rights gained momentum three years ago in Helsinki, Finland when scientists and ethicists drafted a Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans. ‘We affirm that all cetaceans as persons have the right to life, liberty and well-being,’ they wrote.The signatories included leading marine scientist Lori Marino who produced evidence that cetaceans have large, complex brains especially in areas involved in communication and cognition. Her work has shown that dolphins have a level of self-awareness similar to that of human beings. Dolphins can recognize their own reflection, use tools and understand abstract concepts. They develop unique signature whistles allowing friends and family members to recognize them, similar to the way human beings use names. ‘They share intimate, close bonds with their family groups. They have their own culture, their own hunting practices – even variations in the way they communicate,’ said FIAPO’s Puja Mitra.”[1]


  1. “Dolphins gain unprecedented protection in India | Environment | DW.DE | 24.05.2013,” DW.DE. [Online]. Available: http://www.dw.de/dolphins-gain-unprecedented-protection-in-india/a-16834519. [Accessed: 23-Mar-2014]. 

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