“For millennia, all kinds of authorities — from religion to eminent scholars — have been repeating the same idea ad nauseam, that humans are exceptional by virtue that they are the smartest in the animal kingdom. However, science tells us that animals can have cognitive faculties that are superior to human beings.” States Dr. Arthur Santiotis.
The Cove, documented in 2009, focuses on the mass dolphin killings in Japan (Taiji), Japanese fishing practises and the increasing risk in mercury poisoning in dolphin meat. It would also be relevant to mention Ric O’barrys, ‘The dolphin Project’, which aims to raise awareness to the mistreating of dolphins. During the documentary it was discussed that dolphins use a larger capacity of their brains than what humans do.
Research in animal intelligence has even found that cetaceans (a.k.a, dolphins and whales) are more complex than we can ever comprehend. Through forms of communication using an echo system as well as strategic group planning to save the young orcas in Blackfish, we see a species that surpasses the way in which humans use there brains today; not to say dolphins and orcas are smarter than humans, but the cetaceans are a lot more complex than just ‘animals’. According to research undertaken by the Michigan State university, “They have the distinct advantage over us in that their primary sense is the same as their primary means of communication, both are auditory. With primates, the primary sense is visual and the primary means of communication is auditory.” Kenneth Marable and Misha Collins even state there is a strong possibility that cetaceans can project an ‘auditory image’ to one another.
This image shows a diver in the ‘eyes’ of a dolphin to show the way in which dolphins signify images for inter-species communication. It could be said that cetaceans even break down signified images into words. This means that instead of thinking of the word ‘Sun’ and then picturing the sun in our mind, a cetacean would just skip the step and project the image of the sun.
So what am I trying to say with this example?
Cetaceans are not just ‘animals’ because of their superior intelligence.
Its also interesting to explore the way in which we listen to animals when they behave like humans. During certain scenes in Blackfish we see orcas given human behaviours, for instance when the young orca is taken away from the mother and the mother stays in the corner, weeping for days. Its interesting to see the way this truly effects its audience in comparison to seeing an animal being killed for food. We connect with the orca on a deeper level, due to the heartbreaking human behaviour that we can understand, however we label pig meat as pork and cow meat as beef? Is this due to the connecting stigma of an animal dying for our dietary intake? To justify the killing as, okay because we need it?
Many believe that cows and pigs may not be at the same human superiority as what we are, however as spoken about in class. Meats could be eaten in smaller doses, to save many unnecessary killings. Either way, I believe some animals are a lot more like humans than what some other species may be. **Not to justify that killing animals is okay because its not!** Therefore some animals such as cetaceans should be treated with a lot more respect than being shoved in glorified bathtubs for entertainment and tourism.
If this discussion wasn’t enough to prove that cetaceans don’t belong in tanks, here are another 10 reasons why.