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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...

So what’s the point of all this science?

Renowned philosopher Professor Thomas I White has been an advocate for recognising the rights of whales and dolphins for over two decades. He outlines his manifesto for recognising the personhood status of whales and dolphins in his Primer on Non-human Personhood and Cetacean Rights.  Simply, he argues that the supporting scientific evidence now demonstrates that, among others, whales and dolphins have the basic  right to life and the right not to be incarcerated.

Orca in GefangenschaftIn a new essay ‘Whales, Dolphins and Ethics: A Primer’, White now lays down the gauntlet to marine mammal scientists, asking us not just to languish in data collection and analysis, but to also reflect on the ethical significance of some of these new scientific insights. He notes: ‘The fundamental challenge for marine mammal scientists who want to explore the ethical implications of what marine mammal science has discovered about whales and dolphins is to move from the description of facts about whales and dolphins to the evaluation of what those facts say about human behavior towards these cetaceans’.

He asks:

       What are the ethical implications of the fact that whales and dolphins demonstrate such intellectual and emotional sophistication?

       Which ethical standards should be used in evaluating how humans treat them?

       When looked at through this lens, which human behaviours are ethically problematic? How do we change our behaviour to improve the situation?

White argues further that beyond the basic right to life, whales and dolphins deserve the right to flourish in their natural environments and then outlines what the conditions for flourishing might be for these species. If you want to know more watch this presentation.