Nemesister (nemesister) wrote,

Dophins' Rights!

Has anyone seen this: Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons'

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.

Dolphins have long been recognised as among the most intelligent of animals but many researchers had placed them below chimps, which some studies have found can reach the intelligence levels of three-year-old children. Recently, however, a series of behavioural studies has suggested that dolphins, especially species such as the bottlenose, could be the brighter of the two. The studies show how dolphins have distinct personalities, a strong sense of self and can think about the future.

“The scientific research . . . suggests that dolphins are ‘non-human persons’ who qualify for moral standing as individuals,” he said.

I do approve. I must say that there is an obvious bias in comparing an animal's intelligence to human intelligence. If you construct an intelligence test on Japanese people and test Norwegians with it, you will always find the Norwegians lacking, as well as the other way round. What you choose as the standard beforehand matters, nothing else will be able to measure up just because of that. Just think how a human might perform compared to a dolphin. How quickly could they learn dolphin language and basic orientation in the ocean? Obviously they'd be lacking as well. So if a dolphin can be better at being a smart human than a 3-year-old human child, they are probably, um, pretty darn smart.

I'm not saying it's not interesting to compare animals to human intelligence or that I don't think humans are probably the smartest animals on earth (I do tbh), but I do think people are at this time still way too arrogant when discussing the intelligence of animals, if it's mammals, which are very similar to us (apes, whales, elephants...) and especially if it's animals who are more different from us and thus even harder to emphasise with (thinking of turtles and birds like parrots, who I suspect are highly intelligent animals too).

Ah, damn the examples, people are breathtakingly arrogant about pretty much all animals and it's grating. I really do hope there is some progress made in the near future and I like that article!
Tags: politics, rant
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