Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Reasons for Hope
Humanity is struggling to evolve ethically on a deep level — to choose compassion over utility and profit. In a world where greed and ignorance has put the survival of all earthly life at risk, increasing levels of compassion and ethical concern may be crucial for our survival; it may be our only hope.
Riding along the cutting-edge of this ethical expansion, scientists have now made an official proclamation acknowledging that current research reveals Dolphins qualify as nonhuman persons — intelligent, sophisticated, sentient individuals of intrinsic worth, sharing the same fundamental grounds for moral consideration as humans, including a right to life and freedom.
Currently, we treat Dolphins as if they were property, not persons; objects rather beings, and at present, many thousands are killed and injured by numerous human practices every year. To successfully make this moral leap and accept Dolphins into our sphere of ethical concern with equal entitlement to life and freedom would necessitate an immediate cessation of practices which harm them. Toward this worthy goal an international group of scientists have founded a Declaration of Rights for Whales and Dolphins.
The incomparable Albert Schweitzer declared that the most fundamental principle of ethics is a “Reverence for Life” and thus the preservation, restoration and enhancement of life becomes the anchor of our ethical evolution. This includes the realisation that the powerful and privileged status that humans enjoy on this Earth entails, not a right to exploit, but a responsibility to protect.
Thus, we find Dolphins a supremely apt symbol for the polarised human relationship with Nature and the internal struggle we are facing within human nature itself — a test of our courage and our humanity.
For more information please visit:
Cetacean Rights http://cetaceanconservation.com.au/cetaceanrights/
Leah Lemieux is an author and lecturer who works on dolphin protection, education and conservation initiatives.