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Should we give Cetaceans Rights?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2016 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 413 times Debate No: 89717
Debate Rounds (3)
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One time, a few years ago, I was on a visit to Cancun, Mexico. One day, we visited a lagoon where they kept dolphins, however these dolphins were free to come and go from the ocean. The ocean around was filled with trash at the time, and the trainers decided that instead of cleaning the tank themselves, to make it faster, they would train the dolphins to pick the trash up. This in itself is amazing. The trainers would give the dolphins fish every time they brought a piece of trash to the stage. If this isn't great enough, one of these dolphins did a specifically significant thing. This dolphin brought a piece of cardboard, a small one, to the trainer, and received a fish. Now, the other dolphins would usually bring another, different piece of trash. But this dolphin brought another piece of cardboard. Another. And another. Finally, the trainer realized something must be going on. He walked over to the place where the dolphin was getting the garbage and saw something extraordinary. The dolphin swam over top a floating piece of cardboard, maybe 10 by 10 feet large. He would push the large piece of cardboard under the water, rip a tiny piece of cardboard off, and bring it to the trainer.

Now, if this doesn't show the opposition why cetaceans should have rights, I do not know what does. You see, cetaceans(Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises) should have rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights will allow these extraordinary creatures capability and a life worth living.


Okay. While this is tu quoque, I wish to point out that your argument is entirely anecdotal. It is bad practice to use stories from one's personal life in a debate.

Furthermore, I fail to see the connection between bringing cardboard in exchange for food and cetacean voting rights. Are you trying to argue that the cardboard-bringing shows that dolphins are smart enough to have rights? If that is so, then you may as well give rights to dogs, who do the very same thing without even having to be trained.

Also, the title you gave this debate is not appropriate. "Cetaceans" refers to many marine mammals, such as whales, porpoises, and dolphins, whereas the argument you presented refers to dolphins exclusively.

As a last point for round 1, I note that "rights" is very vague. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is all well and good, but what rights do you intend to give dolphins? Humane rights? They already have those. Voting rights? They can't even pull the lever, much less be informed about American and global politics. Please, be more specific with what you mean by "rights" in round 2.
Debate Round No. 1


Yes, my argument was entirely anecdotal. Anecdotes are a very good way, in my opinion, we all have our own, to express your side.

If you do fail to see the connection between my anecdote and rights I fail to see how your mind works. The fact that this creature found out how to loop the system is genius. A dog could never do this. You would never teach a dog to do this or him be able to do it on his own. Dogs cannot even swim that well.

The title of this debate is not appropriate? Cetaceans refers to Whales, Animals and Dolphins, yes. I used an anecdote explaining one of these, and in my previous argument, I also mentioned the other animals in this order, when I stated, "You see, cetaceans(Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises)...' I named it this because I wanted someone with previous knowledge of these animals to join, such as you seem to.

I as well do realize that rights is very vague. I didn't think it would be too hard for you to understand this, but I will define it anyway. You see, by rights, of course I do not mean voting rights. A cetacean cannot vote. We are not going to make underwater voting booths. That is absurd. When I say rights, I express this in more of a way as underlying rights, not physical rights. I have the physical rights to walk, talk and go online to Whales, dolphins and porpoises cannot do that, and that is a fact. However, I am talking about underlying rights. Underlying rights, such as how I mentioned, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am sure you knew that whales were hunted and killed almost to extinction? That 99% of blue whales died within the past 3 centuries, and are still being hunted. These animals have been around for millions of years before us. Tens of millions. These animals have been hunted to extinction. I I This space represents how close we were to killing the largest animals ever to walk/ swim the Earth. And they are still being killed off by the Japanese, Norwegian and Icelandic. The dolphins in the pacific. They are still being killed. In fact, it is a horror story. In the countries of Japan, Peru, the Solomon Islands and the Faroe Islands, people use the method of Dolphin Drive Hunting(1). This method is where boats and/or nets surround a huge group of dolphins and push them onto a beach or shallow area where they cannot swim. These dolphins then lie there, unable to move, as the people, in Japan especially, rush onto the beach and beat these dolphins with sticks. They beat these dolphins with sticks, rocks and their own fists. They stab these dolphins with their knives. Ripping them open. It is a heartbreaking scene, what some people do to the lives of these animals. This clearly illustrates how cetaceans should be given the right to life.

The right of liberty is another thing. I am sure you have heard about the discriminate things that happen at SeaWorld. In SeaWorld, Orcas are kept to give shows to make a profit. Now, I am sure everyone says, that the Orcas are taken from the wild when they are injured. But this is not the truth. Orcas are kept horribly in captivity. They are denied a lot of veterinary care, and only get it when the audience would notice the wound, sometimes inflicted by trainers. For instance, Orcas in the wild spend 95% of their time underwater. In SeaWorld, this is impossible because the deepest tanks are only 40 feet deep. So, Orcas get sunburn very easily. That is why Black Zinc Oxide is applied to the burn, to cover it up.

As you can see, Cetaceans have the right to have rights. I will explain more in the next round about rights.


Yes, the Sea-World shews are awful violations of the rights of any sentient being. In fact, they are almost as bad as freak shews in circuses once were, which sometimes continue to this day illegally.

But I challenge you to find a violation of basic rights that has been done unto cetaceans that which has not been done unto humans.

For every violation of basic rights that has been transgressed by humans against cetaceans, there is an equivalent violation that has been done to humans themselves. Cetaceans, while they have certainly not been treated any better than humans, have certainly not been treated any worse.

A few examples. Forcing them do do tricks in overly shallow water tanks for entertainment? Some human equivalents include gladiator fights, strip clubs, freak shews, etc. Systematically hunting them to extinction? The Holocaust, the Crusades, the conquistador's invasion of the Mayan empire, the British and Americans killing Native Americans and Africans. Eating them, on purpose or not? Go look up what happened to the armies of Spartacus after the Romans defeated them.

Now you may argue that we haven't hunted humans to extinction the same way we have hunted cetaceans, but that is not true. What do you think happened to all the other species of humans besides Sapiens- such as Neanderthals, Erectus, Habilis, Denisovans, Australopithecus, and so many other human species that were successful for millions of years before us? The last whispers of their kind are locked up in modern Sapien's DNA, caused by interbreeding (possibly without consent.)

My point here is as follows. Yes, terrible transgressions have been made against cetacean-kind. And we are completely responsible for it. But there is nothing we have done to cetaceans that we haven't done to humans. And while that doesn't excuse us from any of it, it does mean that cetaceans receive equal treatment.
Debate Round No. 2


maxtemp109 forfeited this round.


Mr. maxtemp109 forfeits the last round. Thus I am victorious.
Debate Round No. 3
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