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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...
Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions...

Is a dolphin a person?

Professor Thomas I White, philosopher from Loyola Marymount University California, argues in his Primer on Non-human Personhood and Cetacean Rights that dolphins qualify as non-human persons. According to White this matters because persons have what philosophers refer to a ‘moral standing’, which means they are entitled to be treated in certain ways.

More than just a ‘101’ on the concept of non-human personhood and associated rights, in this primer White extends his arguments to include the notion of flourishing. He states ‘The central idea I’m advancing is that we need to begin with what cetaceans need in order to flourish—that is, what they need in order to develop the physical, emotional, social and intellectual capabilities inherent in their species which allow them to have a successful and satisfying life’.

White’s view is that ‘the scientific data of the last thirty years makes it quite clear that the slaughter and captivity of dolphins are ethically indefensible’. He believes that ‘anyone who doesn’t recognize this is either unfamiliar with the full body of relevant scientific literature or doesn’t understand the ethical significance of the data’.