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So what’s the point of all this science?

Renowned philosopher Professor Thomas I White has been an advocate for recognising the rights of whales and dolphins for over two decades. He outlines his manifesto for recognising the personhood status of whales and dolphins in his Primer on Non-human Personhood and Cetacean Rights.  Simply, he argues that the supporting scientific evidence now demonstrates that,…

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Dolphins learning

Evidence is mounting rapidly for the social transmission of certain behaviours within some mammal populations. Dolphins are no exception and their ability to learn from others within their social groups may be an important factor when it comes to adapting to human induced change within their environments. But what does ‘social transmission’ of behaviours actually…

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20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals Part 1

Wind, Whales, and Dolphins – the conservation impacts of marine renewables The 20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals is taking place this week in Dunedin, New Zealand.  This is the largest international conference focused on marine mammals and WDC is there to present our conservation work to the world.  “Many difficult and…

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Darwin’s cognitive continuum

Recent media stories about ‘dumb dolphins’ (apparently taken out of context) require some antidote and here’s just the thing. Pour yourself a coffee, settle back and listen to this podcast, which features some of the famous names in chimpanzee, dolphin, parrot, prairie dog and wolf research, to name just a few. The discussion ranges from…

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Judgment Day for Scientific Whaling

Guest blog by Mike Donoghue, former advisor to the New Zealand government.  Much is at stake in the International Court of Justice case between Australia and Japan on Japan’s ‘research whaling’ programme in the Antarctic – JARPA II – which for the past 25 years has been the only remaining large-scale whaling operation in the…

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Is a dolphin a person?

Professor Thomas I White, philosopher from Loyola Marymount University California, argues in his Primer on Non-human Personhood and Cetacean Rights that dolphins qualify as non-human persons. According to White this matters because persons have what philosophers refer to a ‘moral standing’, which means they are entitled to be treated in certain ways. More than just…

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Australia’s motivation: Japan attacks

Whilst Australia’s motivation for bringing the case on Japanese Scientific Whaling to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) may be the result of domestic public pressure, the Government of Japan seems to have a more sceptical perspective.  Presenting their oral arguments to the court Japan argued that: ‘Another aspect of the case pertains to confining the…

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Why is Australia v Japan such a special case?

The history of contentious cases at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is long, dating back to 1947. The ICJ was founded just a few years earlier in 1945 and is the principle judicial organ of the United Nations. A contentious case is one in which there is a legal dispute between countries (as opposed to a…

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Identifying and respecting other personalities: stories to inspire

The study of animal personalities is rapidly become one of the fastest growing areas of research in behavioural biology and ecology. The term ‘personality’, within this context, is used to describe significant behavioural and physiological differences between individuals of the same species, which are consistent over time in different contexts or situations. For field researchers,…

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