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New babies bring hope for endangered Southern Resident orcas

New babies bring hope for endangered Southern Resident orcas

A silver lining of this strange year was the news that Tahlequah, the orca who...
Mass stranding of pilot whales in Tasmania

Mass stranding of pilot whales in Tasmania

Over 450 pilot whales have stranded in various locations along a stretch of coastline in...
Success! France to ban captivity of whales and dolphins in marine parks

Success! France to ban captivity of whales and dolphins in marine parks

WDC’s continued campaigning to end the keeping of whales and dolphins in captive facilities for...
Belugas take ‘little steps’ into the ocean sanctuary

Belugas take ‘little steps’ into the ocean sanctuary

We are pleased to confirm that beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, have taken...
Tahlequah, the Southern Resident orca, gives birth to healthy calf

Tahlequah, the Southern Resident orca, gives birth to healthy calf

J35 and J57. Photo by Katie Jones, Center for Whale Research / Permit #21238 Tahlequah...
Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Orcas are one of only five species known to experience menopause and females can live...
Humpback whales swim up river in Kakadu National Park

Humpback whales swim up river in Kakadu National Park

Wildlife experts in Australia's Northern Territory are monitoring a humpback whale that has travelled 18...
WDC scientists join call for global action to protect whales and dolphins from extinction

WDC scientists join call for global action to protect whales and dolphins from extinction

Scientists from Whale and Dolphin Conservation, along with over 250 other experts from 40 countries,...

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