Are dolphins people, too?

March 14, 2012

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(AP/Chris O'Meara)
A trainer fits a rescued dolphin with a prosthetic tail at Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida.

Since the dawn of man, humans have negotiated our relationship with the animal world. These days, there’s a developing trend to recognize animal rights everywhere from the barnyard to the outback.

Two years ago in Finland a “Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans: Whales and Dolphins” was agreed upon at an international conference. The document argues that cetaceans should be classified as “non-human persons,” and thus protected by international law. The declaration was just discussed at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest science conference. Today, Worldview talks with Thomas White, one of the signatories of the declaration. Thomas is a business ethicist at Loyola Marymount University and the author of In Defense of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier.