Cetacean Rights

Cetacean Rights: Fostering a Moral and Legal Change Conference

In spite of some forms of conservation measures, cetaceans are currently treated as resources to be harvested. And yet, many elements point in a different direction.

International law manifests a growing sense of duty to whales and dolphins; contemporary ethical reflection brings new theoretical tools to bear on cetacean moral status; and scientific research gives us novel insights into the complexities of cetacean minds and societies.

In the light of this, scholars from the relevant disciplines draw together to spell out all the implications of such developments, and to build a collective case for the attribution of basic moral and legal rights to cetaceans, great and small.

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland
Open academic conference : 21st May 2010 9.30 – 18.00
Closed door conference presenter forum : 22nd May 2010 9.30 – 18.00


Thomas Wilhelmsson, Rector of the University of Helsinki
Welcome address
Chris Butler-Stroud, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, United Kingdom
Fostering Moral and Legal Change Towards Cetacean Rights
Matti Häyry, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Whale Rights and Applied Ethics: The ideas of dignity, solidarity, and precaution
Sudhir Chopra, Cambridge Central Asia Forum, United Kingdom
Revisiting Whales’ Right to Life
Thomas White, Loyola Marymount University, United States of America
Beyond Personhood: Cetaceans and the Challenge of Identifying Species-Appropriate Standards
Hal Whitehead, Dalhousie University, Canada
Cetacean Cultures and Cetacean Rights
Lori Marino, Emory University, United States of America
Cetacean Rights: A Test of our Ethical Consistency
Nicholas Entrup, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, Germany
Cetacean Rights: Confronting the Sustainably Paradigm and Deciding Who is ‘Beyond Use’
Paola Cavalieri, Etica & Animali/Conference organizer, Italy
Cetaceans: From Bare Life to Nonhuman Others

Conference pack

Press notification
Speaker biographies
Speaker abstracts
Conference schedule

Conference outcomes

It is anticipated that a formal statement will be developed in a speaker’s forum, for public release on the 22nd May. This statement will articulate the appropriate attribution of basic moral and legal rights to cetaceans with implication spanning philosophy, law, science and policy.