Scientists are seeking greater protection of dolphins as “non-human persons” in light of research showing that they are the second most intelligence species after humans. They specifically argue that the continued use of the animals for amusement is morally unacceptable. They might want to start with the Japanese, who cherish an annual massacre of dolphins as a cultural tradition (shown below).
Dolphin brains are larger than human brains and are second in density only to our own. Their language has many similarities to human speech.
Previously, dolphins were placed after chimps in intelligence but new research shows that they are more intelligent than both chimps and three-year-old children. They also have been shown to have distinct personalities and can recognize themselves in mirrors as well as solve difficult problems.
They also seem to be able to teach each other new things. In one case in Australia, an injured dolphin was taught to speak during three weeks of care. Scientists then watched the same dolphin teach the lessons to others dolphins when it was released into the wild.
Recognizing intellect in animals is a difficult cultural barrier for humans. Such evidence of intelligence or sentience is disturbing in a world where animals are often treated as foodstuffs or entertainment.
Here is how dolphins are treated in the annual celebration in Japan:
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