Reports are emerging of a landmark resolution passed this week by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors recognising whales’ and dolphins’ right to freedom from captivity.
According to reports the resolution states that whales and dolphins deserve ‘to be free of captivity, and to remain unrestricted in their natural environment’. The resolution was championed by Commissioner Russell Tenofsky and backed by both San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, Dr Lori Marino and sponsored by Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project.
An earlier initiative known as the Malibu proclamation, which reflects the sentiments outlined in the Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans: whales and dolphins provides another great example of progressive thinking at the local level. This may provide a future example of how the principles of the Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans may be implemented at the municipal or state level.
With Sea World shares and popularity plummeting, this great news from San Francisco, the Malibu proclamation and even the Indian Government citing the intelligence and sentience of dolphins as a reason to ban any future development of dolphinaira, is this the death knell of the cetacean captivity industry finally tolling?
Meanwhile, in a truly ground-breaking case the Non-human Rights Project are awaiting the outcome of an appeal court hearing for the chimpanzee known as Tommy. They argue, using the scientific evidence, that he should be recognised by the court as a legal person and that he should be granted the right to bodily liberty and integrity and given sanctuary from the tiny cage in which he resides.
The decision on Tommy’s case is expected within the next four to six weeks. WDC is working with the Non-human Rights Project to see how similar cases for whales and dolphins in captivity might one day be heard in US courts.