Two opposing views on the ‘personhood’ of marine mammals

I found an interesting take on animals and where the writer seems to believe they rank in the grand scheme of things on a blog site known as “Secondhand Smoke” – on FirstThings.com.

The writer goes into the anthropomorphic thing, accusing others of giving personhood to, in this case, marine mammals. Now to his credit, he is against whaling and opposes the practice based on its level of cruelty. Good.

But he grinds into this idea that we shouldn’t give whales and dolphins personhood.

He goes after New York Times writer Natalie Angier, who produced an article published on June 25 that reviewed research into the intelligence and social behavior of whales and dolphins.

Angier’s piece actually contains some great information.

Discussing emotion and cognition in animals and noting our common emotional traits is not anthropomorphism. If I said my dog watched “Brian’s Song” and cried during the film’s final scenes, that would be one thing. But otherwise – no.

We should oppose whaling and the cruel slaughtering of other highly intelligent beings such dolphins based on the level of cruelty and our knowledge of the self-awareness and the level of cognition these animals possess.

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