CNN reports on the effort to save stranded dolphins in the Florida Keys:
A veterinarian injects the mammals with vitamin E to help with muscle cramping. Unable to eat on their own, they are fitted with a feeding tube to get them the needed nutrition.
The veterinarians are being helped by hoards of what I guess would be called pro-(dolphin-)life extremists:
The dolphins were placed in a water pen where they have been given round-the-clock care by hundreds of volunteers who signed up for four-hour shifts.
No judges seem to be standing in the way this time. The contradiction is obvious to some, and Chana Meira expresses it best:
Now, if only we can get folks to save the humans with as much enthusiasm:
The great contradiction we suspected would come. The fine state of Florida considers human life to be expendable. Yet, in the Florida Keys, the rush is on … to tube feed helpless dolphins.
I am all for compassion toward our mammal friends. But for crying out loud, is there some reason why we humans do not rate with some groups?
I mean, we cannot be too bad, since we are helping these poor dolphins, after all.
(Jason Hayes has more extensive comments.)
Q. Iâ€™ve read that you think humans and animals are equal. Do you really believe that a human being is no more valuable than an animal?
A. I argued in the opening chapter of Animal Liberation that humans and animals are equal in the sense that the fact that a being is human does not mean that we should give the interests of that being preference over the similar interests of other beings. That would be speciesism, and wrong for the same reasons that racism and sexism are wrong. Pain is equally bad, if it is felt by a human being or a mouse. We should treat beings as individuals, rather than as members of a species. …
Q. You have been quoted as saying: “Killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Sometimes it is not wrong at all.” Is that quote accurate?
A. It is accurate, but can be misleading if read without an understanding of what I mean by the term â€œpersonâ€ (which is discussed in Practical Ethics, from which that quotation is taken). I use the term “person” to refer to a being who is capable of anticipating the future, of having wants and desires for the future. As I have said in answer to the previous question, I think that it is generally a greater wrong to kill such a being than it is to kill a being that has no sense of existing over time. Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living. …
So, in this twisted world, it makes more sense to tube-feed adult dolphins than human babies, or disabled humans like Terri Schiavo.
(See also my previous post on Peter Singer, here.)