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We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
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...

Wise words on what it means to be a ‘legal person’

Professor Steve Wise of the Non-human Rights Project made a presentation at TED describing how he and colleagues have been navigating a course for the transformation of chimpanzees from ‘legal things’ (like chairs or pencils) to ‘legal persons’. The presentation is now available on the TED website, is only 14 minutes long and is well worth your time.

One thing to bear in mind is that he is not talking about ‘giving’ chimpanzees human rights. Instead he argues that it is time to ‘recognise’ the rights of chimpanzees not to be held captive or to be subject to cruel treatment. Listening to his description of the cognitive complexity and prowess of chimpanzees and comparing this with the other ‘things’ – such as corporations, or religious texts – that are today considered ‘legal persons’, or the fact that we have important legal safety nets designed to protect the rights of non-autonomous human beings, it is difficult to understand how this legal disparity remains for chimpanzees.

Rights for non-humans is a discomforting thought for many, not least because it challenges how we behave now, but also challenges our place in nature. But Wise make rational arguments for why the inconsistencies in the law cannot continue.

More on Rights for whales and dolphins

Eye of grey whale