The Guardian reported on 19th January that the US Navy has trained dolphins to detect mines and they might be used in a conflict with Iran over its nuclear policies. Apparently, Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz and might use mines to achieve its objective. The US Navy is reported to have trained about 80 dolphins to detect mines.
According to some reports, the dolphins “only” locate the mines and drop acoustic transponders nearby so that humans can destroy the mines; it is also possible, however, for the dolphins to set off the mines and die in the resulting explosion – it must also be noted that the trained (and other) dolphins would be “legitimate” targets for the Iranians.
This is yet another indication that we need to re-assess the type of society we are creating.
To quote from the Guardian article:
Dolphins are social mammals, capable of enjoying their lives. They form close bonds with other members of their group. They respond to images of themselves in a mirror, and use the mirror to examine marks on parts of their body that they cannot otherwise see – a test that is widely taken to be a sign of self-awareness, which human children cannot pass until they are somewhere between 18 months and two years of age.
Dolphins cannot consent to being trained by the US Navy, neither can they object.
We do not have to treat animals, dolphins in this case, in the way described above. The Cetacean Conservation is one organisation working towards a better type of society and their philosophy is “that future conservation efforts must acknowledge and progress the intrinsic rights [my emphasis] of wild animal populations to be free from interference and have perpetual security for their critical habitats.”
A Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans: Whales and Dolphins exists and you can add your name to the declaration; this is an extract of the declaration:
Based on the principle of the equal treatment of all persons;
Recognizing that scientific research gives us deeper insights into the complexities of cetacean minds, societies and cultures;
Noting that the progressive development of international law manifests an entitlement to life by cetaceans;
We affirm that all cetaceans as persons have the right to life, liberty and wellbeing.
Please add your name to the declaration. Thank you.