What is Terrorism; an Inter-species Perspective

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This is what Cetacea Defence thinks

On September 11 2001, the world we are told changed forever. When I was a child, JF Kennedy was assassinated and I distinctly remember returning home from school and my father informing me. It is said that those old enough can remember where they were when they heard the news.

Similarly, I am sure people will always recall what they were doing, when they heard about the attacks on the twin towers in New York.

As those events unfolded over the following hours and days, some of the 3000 people who perished, became individuals. People who jumped to a certain death, rather than be burned alive, the bravery of the fire-fighters who were going into the building to try and evacuate people, higher up the building. No-one who heard it will ever forget the phone-call from the terrified woman, calling her husband and getting his voice mail. In her last moments of life, she expressed her love for him. I didn't know any of those people but I am bonded with empathy of a common humanity.

How must it have felt to have been in any of those 3000 shoes? I didn't know any of those people, but I shed tears.

I have been privileged to see dolphins and whales in the oceans, to swim amongst them, to have them share their world of sound with a terrestrial being. I spent 2 years and hundreds of hours swimming with an individual dolphin. This fabulous bottle-nose dolphin inhabited an inshore area of Northumberland in the UK. He tolerated my inadequacies, in his world, with a sense of humour. In fact it was this, which convinced me first-hand of the thinking ability and intelligence of dolphins. He would appear underneath with a nudge of the leg, an exhalation of air, or emerge close behind my back. If the intention was to startle me, it certainly worked and I felt the dolphin chuckling to himself under all his blubber!

We, humans pollute the oceans of the world with industrial effluence and domestic waste. We trap marine life in fishing nets and capture creatures and display them in "oceanariums" (tanks). In certain countries, most notably Japan and the Faroe Isles, dolphins are deliberately sought out, driven into inland bays and butchered with hooks and knifes.

Like humans, dolphins are social creatures, living in communities. Male and female mixed, female with nursery, and adolescent males. They nurse their young for around 3 years and have developed a brain size to cope with the denseness of water. Sound waves which are highly functional and developed, compared to their eye-sight in helping them navigate the oceans. They have sex for fun, not merely for procreation. If we go back in evolution, dolphins were once land mammals and under x ray, their pectoral fins, show the bone structure of our hand.

I have seen graphic photographs and some film of dolphins being butchered by humans. I am saddened by the slaughter and the realisation that I belong to the same species that is perpetrating this mindless killing. I feel ashamed to be human. I call it TERRORISM. The people who are engaged in the dolphin drive fishery are creating terror, I didn't personally know the dolphins being butchered, I imagine every one of them being a dolphin I knew or as an equivalent of a human, having a range of complex emotions, including fear. I didn't personally know any of the butchered dolphins, but I shed tears.

If the human race is to evolve further on this beautiful planet, we need a Neil Armstrong stretch of not a step but imagination. Dolphins have existed long before we rose to dominate, they have never to my best knowledge, ever shown the ruthless aggression, we have to them. In fact the opposite, they have saved drowning swimmers, bow-ridden our boats and generally shown a benign curiosity in our species. The stretch of the imagination is to co-exist with the diversity of other life on Earth, if we are dominate, it is to act as custodians for future generations of ALL species.

If humans can threaten one another or other species, with TERRORISM or extinction, what will it say about us to future generations? I hypothesis they would ask, how could they (we) do that, they must have been truly barbarians.

Dolphins are highly developed social creatures, with self awareness, we should and MUST stop terrorising them, by recognising their inherent right to life. They should be given a "Charter for Cetaceans," similarly to rights given to humans by the United Nations. When that happens we will have taken a giant leap in mankind thinking.

Alan Cooper

"The value I now see in dolphins is not the value of their meat but of the wonder they incite in us." - Former Japanese dolphin killer

"When I am going to kill dolphins, they shed tears and close their eyes. How is it possible for me to kill animals that shed tears and close their eyes at the moment they are killed." - former dolphin killer

"If whales and dolphins could cry for their dead the oceans would be filled with tears." - Alan Cooper

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