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Bottlenose dolphins © Christopher Swann

On the anniversary of the massacre of 1,423 dolphins, what’s changed?

One year ago today, 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, including mothers with calves and pregnant females,...
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...
A dolphin plays in front of the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay

Sharing our Spey Bay stories – tell us yours

2022 is Scotland's Year of Stories, a year in which stories inspired by, created or...
Orcas in Australia

Did orcas help rescue entangled humpback whale?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
An orca named 'Hulk' off Caithness, Scotland

My amazing week watching orcas in Scotland

Orca Watch's 10th anniversary event in the far north of Scotland was exhilarating with a...

Faroes dolphin hunt review – disappointing is an understatement

I wasn't alone in hoping that substantial changes would be made as a result of...
Minke whale - V Mignon

We told them this would happen! Time to halt cruel whale experiments

An ill-conceived and so far ill-fated joint US/ Norwegian experiment to test minke whales' reaction...
Sponging dolphin in Shark Bay

Dolphins who catch fish with shells

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...

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