The Helsinki Group, comprised of philosophers, scientists, and animal welfare groups have created a declaration of rights for dolphins, which they hope will soon become law. They call dolphins “non-human persons” and have concluded that the first right dolphins should receive is the right to life.
In addition to the right to life, the group proposes that dolphins not be removed from their natural environment. They claim that dolphins are not the property of any state, corporation, human group, or individual, that they should be protected under international and domestic law, and that no state, corporation, human group, or individual should “engage in any activity that undermines these rights, freedoms, and norms.”
The reason for this bill of rights for dolphins, the group says, is that advancements in science have now made it clear that dolphins are intelligent and complex. Because of this, the Helsinki Group believes they have the right to life. If this declaration of rights does become law, it would mean that dolphins could not be kept at parks or used for entertainment. It would also mean that the privacy of whales would be protected during whale watching excursions. Killing one of these animals would be considered murder.
Really? I am all for protecting animals. But what about humans? It is infuriating to read these proposed rights for animals when 3,000 actual human unborn babies are torn from their natural environment every day. They are thought of as the property of their mothers, completely unprotected by law, and their own parents as well as other humans (groups, corporations, and individuals) are constantly working to ensure they have no rights, despite scientific advances that prove they are their own individual person, not a clump of cells and most definitely worthy of protection.
Animal rights groups have already signed the declaration and it is actually being considered by the United Nations as part of its efforts to protect migrating species over their entire ranges. The Helsinki Group hopes it becomes law within ten years.
So if people are able to recognize the value of dolphins and the need to allow them to live their lives, how come so many of us are still unwilling to give the right to life to unborn actual human beings? What if unborn human babies were given that status of “person”, as The Helsinki Group is working to give to dolphins? Over a million people have signed in support of personhood for unborn babies, yet our government is still fighting it. Abortion rights activists are still claiming that it is our right to kill the most innocent of humans. Will animals really be granted the status of personhood before actual humans are?
Chance to Interact: Do you support a measure that would give such rights to an animal? Why or why not?