There are few creatures on Earth as majestic as the marine mammal. And, like many, I believe them to be sentient: a belief supported by a considerable mountain of evidence.
Following their 2010 conference on Cetacean Rights, the Helsinki Group put together a Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans (which includes all whales, dolphins, and porpoises). Their ten point declaration goes like this:
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. We conclude that:
Every individual cetacean has the right to life.
No cetacean should be held in captivity or servitude; be subject to cruel treatment; or be removed from their natural environment.
All cetaceans have the right to freedom of movement and residence within their natural environment.
No cetacean is the property of any State, corporation, human group or individual.
Cetaceans have the right to the protection of their natural environment.
Cetaceans have the right not to be subject to the disruption of their cultures.
The rights, freedoms and norms set forth in this Declaration should be protected under international and domestic law.
Cetaceans are entitled to an international order in which these rights, freedoms and norms can be fully realized.
No State, corporation, human group or individual should engage in any activity that undermines these rights, freedoms and norms.
Nothing in this Declaration shall prevent a State from enacting stricter provisions for the protection of cetacean rights.
Commenting Period Ends on 11:59 PM CST, Tuesday,
July 10, 2012
Submit oral or written comments at the public open
Mail comments to:
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic
Attn: Code EV22 (AFTT EIS Project Managers)
6506 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk, VA 23508-1278
Commenting Period Ends on 11:59 PM CST, Tuesday, July 10, 2012
There is also this petition to sign
You do not have long to act.
The Navy is required to include comments on their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) re: the use of high frequency underwater sound for testing in Hawaii, the California and Atlantic Coasts, and the Gulf of Mexico. According to their estimates it will deafen more than 15,900 whales and dolphins and kill 1,800 more over the next 5 years. Whales and dolphins depend on sound to navigate and live. Your signature and comment will have to be included in the EIS and could stop this Naval program, potentially saving the lives of these ocean creatures. The comments must be in by July 10, 2012(tomorrow).