samedi, janvier 26, 2013

Requiem for a "non-human person"

Yesterday, trapped in one of New York City's most polluted waterways, a dolphin breathed its last.

Yesterday, I sat by the bathtub, tears running down my face, unable to do more than cry, keen, sob, as I wrestled with the implications of that life, and that death.

Here's the story -- and the link to previous blog posts about this magnificent creature.

As the blogger notes, one man had the guts to step into the Gowanus Canal, a toxic Superfund site, and spend a few minutes with the frightened and bleeding mammal, who responded to him with affection and warmth.

I don't know how much you know about dolphins.

They are widely considered by scientists to be among the world's most intelligent creatures, with an intellect both similar and alien to our own.

In this article from a few years ago, one scientist asserted that they should be called "non-human persons."

As a "pro-life' Christian, I try to respect the dignity of every creature (although I'm not tolerant about bugs and rats).

I do discriminate on the basis of intelligence, and ability to feel pain.

It angers me that Christians have warped the idea that God gave them "dominion" over the world and its creatures to mistreat them, be indifferent to their plight or ignore them.

If we are the caretakers of our companion animals, why do we turn our backs on climate change that is extinguishing the habitat of polar bears?

Why do we use sonar that distorts the way whales can navigate in their own underwater environment?

Why don't we come down harder on poachers who kill magnificent elephants for their tusks?

Why don't we confront the superstitions that lead to this barbaric idiocy?

Why don't we protect and defend the vulnerable among us, from unborn children to endangered species?

Why have we indulged ourselves and our appetites at the expense of our beautiful planet?

Perhaps I am sentimental, a bleeding-heart liberal.

I actually believe that my perspective, while difficult, is probably intellectually consistent -- which is why I am haunted by the footage of the man who reached out to that dolphin.

After he left, and went home to take a shower, the dolphin finally  escaped.

Before he died, he drifted over to some people observing him.


Probably because he wanted not to be alone in his last hours.

Too bad for him.

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