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 Neuspeziesismus und Delfine
Name: martin Permalink: http://tierrechtsforen.de/13/2105

Datum: 03.04.10 15:55

Ein us-amerikanischer Professor für Ethik hat anhand der Kriterien, die nötig sind, um jemanden als Person bezeichnen zu können, nachgewiesen, dass Delfine alle Kriterien erfüllen und schlägt vor, sie als "nichtmenschliche Personen" zu sehen. Auch in diesem Fall ist der Tierschutz auf den Zug aufgesprungen.

Und auch hier gilt das gleiche, was für Menschenaffen gilt: Tierrechte zu etablieren, indem man sie erst für besonders intelligente Tiere fordert, funktioniert nicht. Wie Adorno so schön sagte: Es gibt kein richtiges Leben im falschen. Heißt hier: Es gibt keinen antispeziesistischen Fortschritt innerhalb speziesistischer Denkmuster. Bestimmte Spezies in der Rechtediskussion zu bevorzugen, weil sie besondere Intelligenz oder sonstige, menschenähnliche Fähigkeiten oder Verhaltensweisen besitzen, verstärkt den gegenwärtigen Anthropozentrismus mehr als ihn zu schwächen. Dass die Forderungen nach Rechten für Delfine verhaltener sind als für Menschenaffen, obwohl diese intelligenter sind als jene, liegt daran, dass sie nicht menschenähnlich genug sind. Bestimmten Tieren einen Sonderstatus vor anderen Tieren einzuräumen ist nicht nur nicht antispeziesistisch, sondern strategisch auch eine Sackgasse.

Speziesismus bekämpft man mit nicht mit Neuspeziesismus, sondern Antispeziesismus: Rechte für alle Tiere mit Bewusstsein, nicht nur für besonders intelligente.

(Speziesistischer Artenschutz wie der Film "Die Bucht" von Louie "Ich esse nur noch kleine Fische" Psihoyos hilft dabei übrigens wenig.)

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 Delfin steht dem Mensch an Intelligenz kaum nach
Name: martin Permalink: http://tierrechtsforen.de/13/2105/2106

Datum: 03.04.10 15:55

San Diego Dass Delfine intelligent sind, ist seit "Flipper" und durch die Live-Shows in Tierparks weithin bekannt. Dass ihr Hirn dem des Menschen vergleichbar oder sogar ebenbürtig ist, geben Studien aber erst jetzt preis.

Die US-Forscherin Lori Marino von der Emory Universität in Atlanta analysierte die graue Masse von drei Großen Tümmlern (Tursiops truncatus).

»Gemessen an ihrer Größe haben Delfine etwas weniger Hirnmasse als der Mensch. Dafür ist ihr Hirn stärker gefaltet und hat eine größere Oberfläche, eine Eigenschaft, die die fehlende Masse wettmachen könnte. Die Faltung betrifft vor allem die Neocortex, eine Hirnstruktur, die komplizierte Denkvorgänge und das Selbstbewusstsein steuert. Keine andere Art der Welt hat ein so gewundenes Gehirn wie Delfine, berichtete Marino auf der Jahrestagung des amerikanischen Wissenschaftsverbandes AAAS in San Diego, die am Montag (Ortszeit) endete.

Bleibt das Wettrennen zwischen Mensch und Delfin um die höchste Intelligenz zunächst noch unentschieden, steht doch zumindest ein Verlierer schon fest. Menschenaffen wie Schimpansen und Gorillas fallen im Vergleich zu Tümmlern und anderen Delfinen deutlich zurück. Das Affenhirn ist nur doppelt so groß, wie das durchschnittliche Hirn von anderen Tieren dieser Größe. Das Hirn der Delfine ist dagegen fünfmal größer, als bei ihrem Körper zu erwarten wäre. Der Mensch besitzt im Vergleich zu Tieren ähnlichen Gewichts sogar die siebenfache Hirngröße. Auch in Bezug auf die Struktur und andere Merkmale des Hirns bleibt den Menschenaffen nach den jüngsten Erkenntnissen vom Delfin nur ein weit abgeschlagener Platz drei.
"Was heißt das?", fragte der Ethik-Professor Thomas White von der Loyola Marymount Universität in Los Angeles auf dem Kongress der weltgrößten Forscherorganisation. Anhand einer Liste von Kriterien wies White nach, dass Delfine alle Voraussetzungen erfüllen, um als Individuum definiert zu werden. Sie hätten positive und negative Empfindungen, Emotionen, Selbstbewusstsein und seien in der Lage, ihr Verhalten zu steuern. Delfine erkennen einander und begegnen sich mit Respekt, meist sogar mit offener Zuneigung, zitierte White aus zahlreichen Studien. Sie nehmen sich im Spiegel wahr - eine Leistung, die außer ihnen nur Menschen und Menschenaffen vollbringen - gehen analytisch und planmäßig vor und lösen komplexe Aufgaben. Außerdem haben sie die Kapazität, körperlich und gefühlsmäßig intensiv und langanhaltend zu leiden.

Diese Kombination von geistiger Kapazität und Verletzlichkeit ist nach traditionellem Verständnis allein dem Menschen zu eigen. Wenn der Delfin sie im Verlauf seiner fast 60 Millionen Jahre langen Evolution ebenfalls erworben haben sollte, stünden ihm ähnliche Rechte zu, wie sie der Mensch für sich beanspruche, argumentiert der Ethikprofessor. Dann dürften Delfine nicht "wie Sklaven" für Tiershows vermarktet und zu Hunderttausenden im östlichen Pazifik gejagt und geschlachtet werden, dann dürften die geselligen Meeressäuger nicht als Eigentum betrachtet, sondern müssten mit Achtung behandelt werden. Für den Menschen bietet der Delfin nach Ansicht des Experten die Chance, eine Ethik zu entwickeln, die "eine Wende in dem Verhältnis von Homo sapiens und anderen intelligenten Arten auf unserem Planeten herbeiführt". (Von Gisela Ostwald)

RZO

http://rheinzeitung.de/on/10/02/23/news/science/t/rzo677568.html

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 Dolphins deserve better
Name: martin Permalink: http://tierrechtsforen.de/13/2105/2107

Datum: 03.04.10 15:56

Shannyn Kornelsen
Community editorial board
What defines a ‘person’ is something philosophers have debated since time immemorial. But there is a basic ‘checklist’ that philosophers have, generally speaking, been able to agree upon. This checklist includes:

• A person is alive

A person is aware of their environment

A person has emotions, a personality

A person exhibits self-controlled behaviour

A person treats others appropriately, perhaps even ethically

Before you joke to yourself that your boss/son/mother-in-law is therefore not human based on that criteria, let me remind you this is not criteria for what makes someone human, it is criteria for what makes someone a person.

Why does the distinction matter? Because Thomas White, a professor of ethics and business at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, believes dolphins should be granted “non-human persons” status, for the very reason they meet the criteria on this list.

Now, if this is an argument you have never heard before, I understand that a bit of context might be needed. It is for this reason, that I have listed several important things to consider:

Dolphins are considered by some neuroanatomists to be the second smartest creature on Earth (next to humans, but given our track record, I’m thinking dolphins may actually be the smartest)

They have a bigger brain-to-body-weight ratio than great apes

Their neocortex is very complex, and this is the part of the brain that deals with problem-solving and self-awareness (they recognize themselves in mirrors)

Researchers have found Von Economo neurons, which in humans and apes have been linked to emotions, social cognition and theory of mind

While these are only a few of the facts, when considering the unique qualities and abilities of dolphins, two things become immediately apparent: keeping cetaceans in captivity is completely unethical; and the dolphin slaughters occurring around the world, particularly in Taijii, Japan are an unacceptable practice that the international community needs to condemn.

In the wild it is estimated dolphins have a range of about 100 square kilometres, while in captivity they have one-ten-thousandth of one per cent of that. One-ten-thousandth of one per cent. Can you imagine someone coming into your home in the middle of the night, kidnapping you, and forcing you to spend the rest of your existence in your bathroom? Couple that with the expectation that you will ‘entertain’ us humans, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, and it isn’t hard to understand why so many marine mammals in captivity become violent. As the famous zoologist Lori Marino says, it is “the very traits that make dolphins interesting to study, (that) make confining them in captivity unethical.”

Over 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises are killed each year, for food and sometimes mere amusement. In Taiji, Japan the dolphin meat, which is full of mercury, is served to schoolchildren in their standardized lunch meals. This is despite the laws and regulations prohibiting whaling. This story became the basis of a documentary film called The Cove, which recently won the Oscar for best documentary film. It chronicles the escapades of a group of dolphin warriors—made up of scientists, photographers, free divers, and none other than Ric O’Barry—who attempt to expose to the world what is going on in Taiji. The film tells this story with the same high-stakes antics as seen in films like Ocean’s 11, but with heart like nothing I’ve ever seen. If you want to better understand what makes dolphins different, and special, this is a film you must see.

Human beings have an obligation to the world we’re a part of, to make choices that reflect a world that is just and fair for all creatures that are a part of it. After researching these issues a bit more deeply, I can say without hesitation, that to keep cetaceans in captivity is cruel, unethical, and reinforces a hierarchy that privileges human beings above all else. Additionally, the slaughter of cetaceans for food/entertainment is a barbaric practice that cannot simply be written off as being ‘culturally relative,’ especially since the Japanese people do not appear to even know this is supposedly part of their culture. The international community must come together and put an end to this practice. I look forward to a day when marine parks and the Taiji slaughters are a thing of the past, something our children could not believe we had ever been a part of.

Shannyn Kornelsen is a member of the Guelph Mercury Community Editorial Board.

http://news.guelphmercury.com/Opinions/Editorials/article/610298

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 Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons'
Name: martin Permalink: http://tierrechtsforen.de/13/2105/2108

Datum: 03.04.10 15:57

Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as “non-human persons”.

Studies into dolphin behaviour have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence.

The researchers argue that their work shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing. Some 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die in this way each year.

“Many dolphin brains are larger than our own and second in mass only to the human brain when corrected for body size,” said Lori Marino, a zoologist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who has used magnetic resonance imaging scans to map the brains of dolphin species and compare them with those of primates.

“The neuroanatomy suggests psychological continuity between humans and dolphins and has profound implications for the ethics of human-dolphin interactions,” she added.

Dolphins have long been recognised as among the most intelligent of animals but many researchers had placed them below chimps, which some studies have found can reach the intelligence levels of three-year-old children. Recently, however, a series of behavioural studies has suggested that dolphins, especially species such as the bottlenose, could be the brighter of the two. The studies show how dolphins have distinct personalities, a strong sense of self and can think about the future.

It has also become clear that they are “cultural” animals, meaning that new types of behaviour can quickly be picked up by one dolphin from another.

In one study, Diana Reiss, professor of psychology at Hunter College, City University of New York, showed that bottlenose dolphins could recognise themselves in a mirror and use it to inspect various parts of their bodies, an ability that had been thought limited to humans and great apes.

In another, she found that captive animals also had the ability to learn a rudimentary symbol-based language.

Other research has shown dolphins can solve difficult problems, while those living in the wild co-operate in ways that imply complex social structures and a high level of emotional sophistication.

In one recent case, a dolphin rescued from the wild was taught to tail-walk while recuperating for three weeks in a dolphinarium in Australia.

After she was released, scientists were astonished to see the trick spreading among wild dolphins who had learnt it from the former captive.

There are many similar examples, such as the way dolphins living off Western Australia learnt to hold sponges over their snouts to protect themselves when searching for spiny fish on the ocean floor.

Such observations, along with others showing, for example, how dolphins could co-operate with military precision to round up shoals of fish to eat, have prompted questions about the brain structures that must underlie them.

Size is only one factor. Researchers have found that brain size varies hugely from around 7oz for smaller cetacean species such as the Ganges River dolphin to more than 19lb for sperm whales, whose brains are the largest on the planet. Human brains, by contrast, range from 2lb-4lb, while a chimp’s brain is about 12oz.

When it comes to intelligence, however, brain size is less important than its size relative to the body.

What Marino and her colleagues found was that the cerebral cortex and neocortex of bottlenose dolphins were so large that “the anatomical ratios that assess cognitive capacity place it second only to the human brain”. They also found that the brain cortex of dolphins such as the bottlenose had the same convoluted folds that are strongly linked with human intelligence.

Such folds increase the volume of the cortex and the ability of brain cells to interconnect with each other. “Despite evolving along a different neuroanatomical trajectory to humans, cetacean brains have several features that are correlated with complex intelligence,” Marino said.

Marino and Reiss will present their findings at a conference in San Diego, California, next month, concluding that the new evidence about dolphin intelligence makes it morally repugnant to mistreat them.

Thomas White, professor of ethics at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, who has written a series of academic studies suggesting dolphins should have rights, will speak at the same conference.

“The scientific research . . . suggests that dolphins are ‘non-human persons’ who qualify for moral standing as individuals,” he said.

Additional reporting: Helen Brooks

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article6973994.ece

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 Is a Dolphin a Person?
Name: martin Permalink: http://tierrechtsforen.de/13/2105/2109

Datum: 03.04.10 15:58

SAN DIEGO—Are dolphins as smart as people? And if so, shouldn't we be treating them a bit better than we do now? Those were the topics of discussion at a session on the ethical and policy implications of dolphin intelligence here today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (which publishes ScienceNOW).

First up, just how smart are dolphins? Researchers have been exploring the question for 3 decades, and the answer, it turns out, is pretty darn smart. In fact, according to panelist Lori Marino, an expert on cetacean neuroanatomy at Emory University in Atlanta, they may be Earth's second smartest creature (next to humans, of course).

Marino bases her argument on studies of the dolphin brain. Bottlenose dolphins have bigger brains than humans (1600 grams versus 1300 grams), and they have a brain-to-body-weight ratio greater than great apes do (but lower than humans). "They are the second most encephalized beings on the planet," says Marino.

But it's not just size that matters. Dolphins also have a very complex neocortex, the part of the brain responsible for problem-solving, self-awareness, and variety of other traits we associate with human intelligence. And researchers have found gangly neurons called Von Economo neurons, which in humans and apes have been linked to emotions, social cognition, and even theory of mind—the ability to sense what others are thinking. Overall, said Marino, "dolphin brains stack up quite well to human brains."

What dolphins do with their brains is also impressive. Cognitive psychologist Diana Reiss of Hunter College of the City University of New York brought the audience up to speed on the latest on dolphin behavior. Reiss has been working with dolphins in aquariums for most of her life, and she says their social intelligence rivals that of the great apes. They can recognize themselves in a mirror (a feat most animals fail at—and a sign of self-awareness). They can understand complex gesture "sentences" from humans. And they can learn to poke an underwater keyboard to request toys to play with. "Much of their learning is similar to what we see with young children," says Reiss.

So if dolphins are so similar to people, shouldn't we be treating them more like people? For example, should we really being keeping them captive in zoos and aquariums? "The very traits that make dolphins interesting to study," says Marino, "make confining them in captivity unethical." She notes, for example, that in the wild, dolphins have a home range of about 100 square kilometers. In captivity, they roam one-ten-thousandth of 1% of this.

Reiss is more concerned with the massive dolphin culling seen in some parts of the world. She showed graphic video of dolphins being drowned and stabbed as the waters turned red with blood in places such as the Japanese town of Taiji. Now that scientists know so much about how dolphins think and feel, she said, they should use that data to build a bridge to the public—a big theme of this year's meeting. "Our scientific knowledge needs to be used to influence international policy and ethical considerations," she said. "Scientific facts should transcend geographic boundaries."

Up last, Thomas White, a philosopher at Loyola Marymount University in Redondo Beach, California, made the argument that dolphins aren't merely like people—they may actually be people, or at least, "nonhuman persons," as he described them. Defining exactly what it means to be a person is difficult, White said, but dolphins seem to fit the checklist many philosophers agree on: They're alive, aware of their environment, and have emotions—those ones are easy. But they also seem to have personalities, exhibit self-controlled behavior, and treat others appropriately, even ethically. That combination of traits is harder to come by in the animal world. When it comes to what defines a person, said White, "dolphins fit the bill."

But before the researchers take their findings too far, experts caution that the scientific case for dolphin intelligence is based on relatively little data. "It's a pretty story, but it's very speculative," says Jacopo Annese, a neuroanatomist at the University of California, San Diego. Despite a long history of research, scientists still don't agree on the roots of intelligence in the human brain, he says. "We don't know, even in humans, what is the relationship between brain structure and function, let alone intelligence." Far less is known about dolphins, Annese says.

And who wants to be like humans anyway? As one audience member noted, our conflicts kill and displace millions of our own species. "When we try to think about how we treat these creatures," he said, "we should also think about how we treat ourselves."

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/02/is-a-dolphin-a-person.html

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