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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...

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