Conservation First As WDCS Signs Declaration Seeking To Give Whales And Dolphins The Right To Life
“It will be a long journey, but a world where whales and dolphins are free to live in the wild without the threat of commercial whaling, capture for captivity shows or damage to their natural homes would be a much better place for us all”
Those are the words of WDCS ethics lead, Philippa Brakes, speaking on the day that WDCS has made a small but hugely significant step in conservation history.
WDCS has become the first non-governmental organisation in the world to formally adopt the Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans (whales and dolphins), a historic manifesto for these animals which seeks, amongst other things, to make law their right to a life without captivity and to protect the places that they live. If endorsed and adopted by the United Nations, the Declaration will bring about a seismic shift for conservation world.
The Declaration was agreed by a meeting of experts in Helsinki on 22nd May 2010, one year ago but, to-date, all those who have signed up have been individuals.
During that time WDCS has evaluated the implications of signing the Declaration as an organisation and has now had official endorsement from its board of Trustees to undertake this significant step.
And, as WDCS ethics lead, Philippa Brakes states, this is no small undertaking for the organisation. “Adopting the Declaration is a significant step as it redefines our agenda, and will require us to assess everything we do in light of the Declaration’s principles.
“We will be putting the rights of the individual at the core of our activities as a conservation organisation and this means that we are taking a much stronger protection stance than most other conservation groups. We can then relate our conservation work to the individual principles of the Declaration – the right to life, the right not be held in captivity or servitude, that they are not the property of any State, corporation, human group or individual, etc”
WDCS is currently developing a detailed strategy for promoting cetacean rights within the relevant international bodies and is now satisfied and confident that it can meet these standards as an organisation, and has given a period of one year to ensure that all the charity’s activities are in accordance with these aims.
Join us. Sign the declaration today
and help make history.
A new book written by WDCS’s very own Mark Simmonds and Philippa Brakes and entitled "Whales and Dolphins: cognition, culture, conservation and human perceptions" brings together a wide range of experts from the world of whale and dolphin research to look again at our current knowledge of the complex behaviour and social organization of these animals. The book contrasts this with how different human cultures from around the world view whales and dolphins and their protection, including attitudes to whaling.
In the UK, the book can be bought from our on-line shop
. For other countries it is available from Amazon.