The Real Reason Orcas and Dolphins are Called "Evil"

Note: I strongly suggest to the reader, before judging this passage, to read it in its entirety.

Dolphin species (orca whales, bottlenose dolphins, pilot whales, ect.) are often hailed as benevolent, friendly, free-spiritual, and sometimes even god-like. I've observed people make the claim that they are smarter than humans, have a higher level of conciseness than us (whatever that means), and that us humans should aspire to be like them in nearly every way.

And also apparently I am a horrible, selfish, and arrogant person who could never approach the grandeur of cetacean-hood. I keep non-domesticated pets (dun dun duuuun!). What’s worse, I belong to a species that is mostly unwilling to forfeit a natural diet in the name of ethics, engages in war, and destroys the Earth.

Transient Orca attacking a gray whale calf
Transient Orca attacking a gray whale calf | Source

Ever Heard These Complaints About the Human Species Before?

Of course you have. Viewing humans as the scourge of the Earth is a kind of ideological sentiment that is spreading like malignant cells (something human population growth is also often compared to).

In fact, I have a superior understanding of this because many times, I have felt this way and occasionally still do. It’s hard not to when you bear witness to the numerous and endless atrocities we collectively as a species commit.

Yet, because this is true, people become irrational and desperate, and start looking toward examples in the animal kingdom as a beacon of innocence and beauty, seemingly because that’s everything they believe our species should aspire to be.

Dolphins Are Getting Away with Murder

Nothing seems to thrill humans and mega-fauna lovers (distinct from 'animal lovers' or nature lovers) as much as animals with qualities that they consider to be power, beauty, and intelligence.

People seem to have a special place in their hearts for animals such as horses, wolves, elephants, and of course, dolphins.

I myself, am a bug person, which is considered a little unique. How on Earth am I able to love mosquitoes, people wonder?

They can of course make outdoor excursions miserable for humans and even spread vicious illness in undeveloped countries. Why would these horrid animals choose to bring forth this suffering on to humans? My answer is this: well, for one thing, they can’t really tout a complex brain allowing them to consider ethics and the effects they are having on people.

More importantly, if they stopped sucking blood to feed their babies, they would cease to exist. I guess it is surprising to mega-fauna lovers that small insects also have self-preservation instincts and aren’t concerned with human discomfort in which they would have the commit mass suicide to promote (this would also lead to ecological damage and a loss of biodiversity).

Dolphins on the other hand, with an emphasis on orca whales (or killer whales) are another story entirely.

The only thing more bewildering than the existence of people who are trying to achieve human rights for cetaceans is the fact that a good number of people are actually considering their proposals.

Yet it appears to be difficult for people to realize that the cetacean rights movements are a facet of the animal rights movement. Such an ideology seeks to end human interaction and use of animals entirely. Unfortunately, the movement gains a lot of momentum because our society’s love for dolphins is so fixed.

I think dolphins can thank captivity for a large part of the reason that this is so. Either way, many people have such a strong affliction for the creatures that they near view them as mystical beings.

Man [has] always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much-the wheel, New York, wars and so on-while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man-for precisely the same reason.

— Douglas Adams

Clearly, dolphins are just fun-loving beings which simply choose not to engage in war or follow a dividing religion. Clearly, this is a display of the ultimate of intelligence.

At this point you, the reader, should be rolling your eyes. Obviously, the animals do not possess the ability to enter such an ideological conflict of ideas. And trust me, smaller dolphin species do have something worth fighting for, such as being killed by a larger species of dolphin like orca whales, otherwise known as killer whales (which is a very fitting name).

But orca whales are just doing what they need to do to survive, right?

There is a strong possibility that this isn't always to case.

For the longest time I had to accept the explanation from killer whale fans that the torture of seals and cetaceans perpetuated by the transient orca whale pods was purely a survival protocol to teach the youngsters how to hunt.

However, an interesting fact that I was not taught in animal science classes is that orca whales do not need to eat seals or cetaceans. Apparently killer whales are highly opportunistic with their diets, and while some mostly eat fish, others choose to consume cetaceans and pinnipeds. The food choices are apparently ‘cultural’ (one reason why people think they should have human rights and be considered human equivalents) along with their traveling behavior and ‘languages’.

When I first heard this, I was like “oh I didn’t know that….WAIT...”.

Orcas routinely kill pelicans to play with them, to the delight of the audience, since they are 'only' birds anyway.

Do Orca Whales Kill for Fun?

It turns out that there was more validity to my earlier statements than I was led to believe. Orca whales do not need to torture their prey to survive (or thrive). Their torture of fellow equally intelligent and emotional ocean-mates is a ‘cultural choice’. Humans love to celebrate this fact but do not come to the same conclusions as I do because they have devotion-fueled reasoning which shapes their view of the animals. Not only do orcas kill, but they enjoy the hell out of it--similar to humans who pleasure hunt and pose, all smiles, next to their dispatched victims. When humans do this, it enrages many...but no one cares when animals that are said to be emotional, empathetic, and nearly as intelligent as we are do the same. In fact, in a segment of a killer whale documentary, the field scientist describes this with glee, suggesting the animals are ‘high fiving’ each other after a successful hunt.

“Killer whales, for instance, do not kill or even seriously harm one another in the wild, despite the fact that there is competition for prey and mates and there are disagreements. Their social rules prohibit real violence, and they seem to have worked out a way to peacefully manage the partitioning of resources among different groups. That is something we humans haven’t done yet.”

-Lori Marino's fanciful view on how whales may trump us in the 'intelligence' department.

Drowning Whale Babies

A little more disturbing are the ‘sub-cultural’ groups of orcas that spend a good 2-6 hours trying to separate a baby calf that the mother grey whale has carried (gestation is approximately 13.5 months, and they give birth once every couple of years) and nurtured for over a year.

Again, consider that this animal is similarly or equally as intelligent as the orcas, and many will tell you that cetaceans are similarly and equally as intelligent and emotional as humans (or perhaps more, they will say).

The orcas know what they’re doing, and they know what the mother is going through emotionally. At least, according to the people who think they are humans with flippers. The orca whales chase the new parent until she and her calf succumb to exhaustion, and try to drown her baby.

It can be argued that a mother losing a child is one of the greatest emotional pains a person can experience, and orca whales bring it upon grey whales so they can only eat the baby’s tongue, throat, and lip. You read that correctly.

Gray Whale Calf Killed by Orcas. Note the rake marks.
Gray Whale Calf Killed by Orcas. Note the rake marks. | Source
The remains of the grey whale calf, on its way to happy hagfish.
The remains of the grey whale calf, on its way to happy hagfish.

Apparently, it is a ‘delicacy’ to orca whales, like fois gras or veal is to humans. Orca whales subject animals with similar intelligence to themselves over this meager portion. When you look at the fact that these animals have similar intelligence, it becomes clear that orcas preying on cetaceans would not be unlike humans choosing to exclusively consume chimpanzees and gorillas (but even worse).

I would say, arguably, that killing a whale's baby is the most 'unehtical' food choice in the world. After the suffering and mental agony of both mother and child ends when the baby is finally killed, the mother, highly emotional as any cetacean lover can attest to, gets to endure similar mental suffering to that of a human for some time afterwards.

Dolphins Kill on 'Porpoise'

Apologies for the bad pun; bottle-nosed dolphins are probably the most popular and beloved dolphin species next to orcas, and there are instances of them killing for no reason. In fact, they bully and brutally kill their smaller cetacean cousins, porpoises, by breaking their jaw and fracturing their ribs. The severity and cruelty of this act may be overshadowed by the concealment of the ocean.

There are several theories why this may occur, such as territoriality and hormonal rage of newly mature males. Some say this may be due to food competition (which would in fact, seem to contradict the perpetrated idea of nature being a wonderful paradise, if such empathic animals would need to resort to brutal murder in order to survive). I don't pretend to have a definitive answer, but none of the probable explanations are painting these animals in the best light.

Dead porpoise with rake marks made by you know who.
Dead porpoise with rake marks made by you know who.


So let’s return again to my earlier point about humans who appreciate and adore these animals. It’s interesting that they would be in denial about the prospects that orcas ignore the suffering of their own kind to enjoy the pleasure of the hunt or the taste of the meat, just as humans are accused of (and are criticized by many fellow humans for not dropping every animal-based ingredient to ‘go vegan’).

It’s also interesting that when I bring up these points, all of the sudden people want to deny orca whale ‘human-ness’ and attribute their behavior to animal instinct.

Whales to most people are only intelligent and aware when they are doing the nice things that television glorifies about them. When they are pleasure killing and enjoying the wasteful death of a baby grey whale, they are animals too dumb to understand what they are doing.

Life is not so simple.
Life is not so simple. | Source

People will also race to come up with explanations on why all of my thoughts on these animals are invalid, simply because, I guess, the idealized image that humans have of dolphins couldn't possibly be wrong. Others may adopt another perspective, and accept that these ‘intelligent’ beings, since they are like us, are bound to do some unethical things. Maybe since their intelligence makes them similar to us, I should appreciate them more. And yet again, this is another issue I have with people.

Dolphins and 'Human Ego'

Here’s where irony and human hypocrisy become interesting. Supposedly, I’m ‘arrogant’ for criticizing the idea that cetaceans deserve rights or extra respect due to their ‘intelligence’, yet, I am expected to appreciate animals based on their ‘human’ qualities.

Megafauna lovers cannot understand why I don’t hate mosquitoes, but would consider me a bigot for not treating other animals as equals or undermining their alleged intelligence. It seems to me that the human devotion to cetaceans is another form of human ego, because humans essentially see themselves in the animals and that is why they honor them over other species.

Humans also love that killer whales are not so killer when it comes to attacks against their own species. In the wild, there has even been a reported isolated incident of orca cannibalism, but human meat has never tickled their fancy. So we appreciate that they do not prey upon the world’s most ‘important’ animal, while animals like sharks to many are nothing but ruthless, emotionless killing machines because of a relatively small amount of incidences in which they have attacked people.

I sternly believe that mega fauna appreciation is another form of human self-obsession, wrapped up in subconscious disdain for the fact that humans have flaws (based on our own desired standards that do not exist in the rest of the animal kingdom), which they believe 'shouldn't exist'. But it does exist, it has never not existed, and it isn't going anywhere. I guess that's how 'mother nature' wanted it. It’s clear where the true arrogance lies.

Do you like killer whales?

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The fundamental building blocks of the intelligence of killer whales and dolphins are possibly not so analogous to that of our own. Therefore, it is unsurprising that, as is falsely assumed otherwise, they are not so peaceful outside of their need to eat for survival.

The mechanism that drives orcas to branch out and sample dolphins and whale babies does have a possible evolutionary advantage in exploiting other resources and promoting genetic variation. But these are animals that people claim are nearly intelligent as we are, and more importantly, that we should give them rights for it while they can’t even do so for themselves. Where are the orcas that are willing to stand up to the baby grey whale eaters? Either way, I finally have valid confirmation on why I’ve never been a fan of most members of the dolphin family.

Questions and comments encouraged! What do you think?

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Comments 169 comments

Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

I don't know how you do it, but time and time again you come up with articles that you could have stolen straight my own mind! I agree wholeheartedly with you about cetaceans (particularly dolphins), and I cannot understand peoples' utter mysticism with them. They are fascinating, sure, intelligent, of course, but good heavens. Some of the worst cases of "unethical" animal behavior that I've ever heard of have been caused by these nonchalant murderers.

And people scold me for loving sharks... Ha! The folly! Surely, a scary "fish" HAS to be FAR worse than a warmblooded mammal that takes a perverted delight in the organized crime that results in captive harems of rape victims. Dolphins, you seriously suck.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

YES! I was pretty sure everyone would find this hub to be abhorrent. But the fact of the matter is this, dolphins get all the credit when they perform what humans perceive as an altruistic act, yet when they brutalize one and other, it is 'just nature'. And yes I can criticize them like this, they awareness that is unlike 99 percent of the rest of the animal kingdom (as dolphin lovers love to tout). Sharks certainly do not possess any 'discretion' in refraining from sampling a human arm now and then. They can be blamed for that as much as a baby can be for throwing up on you. I'm certainly going to rant more about cetaceans and the mindless idea of giving them human rights. I usually avoided the subject of cetaceans because I find it very upsetting, but researching it has opened up a new world on how I look at things .


RottenLab profile image

RottenLab 3 years ago from Canada

I think I understood your hub.. I might have to re-read it though. What was you MAIN point?

From what I gathered, here are my thoughts, in a very disorganized fashion:

- Animals (and I mean NO animals) should not have rights equal to humans. (Although I do think they should have some laws protecting them).

- The fact that animals can be so cruel to each other bothers me, but I'm not surprised, and I'm still going to like them. Humans are much, much, crueler than animals...

- Even the friendliest animal can be appalling. I remember out last dog, she was a VERY good family dog;But, she killed MANY animals (five or six beavers, muskrats, rabbits, mice, rabbits,squirrels)


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

No those weren't really the points. I have more complicated views on why they shouldn't have rights, but I reject the idea that:

-Dolphins have more 'superior' societies than humans. Heck, I reject the idea of a superior society.

- I believe that dolphins do not deserve their label of being non-violent and peaceful.

-Dolphins are either succumbing to basic instinct (making me question their 'personhood'), or they, as 'persons', are just as or more malicious than humans.

When you say humans are crueler, you forget that humans are diverse. I've never killed any people or dolphins. I campaign for the welfare of other beings. How am I more cruel than dolphins? How many dolphins try to stop the murder of their own kind? They seem to care more about humans, if anything. So I guess my question is this; why do people, when thinking of humans, automatically picture Hitler, and puppy abusers, and warmongers? None of those are an accurate representation of us as a species. We have extreme diversity, unparalleled in the animal kingdom. Just one more thing that makes us different from them. Cetaceans have been operating the same way for millions of years, perhaps finally learning how to fit a sponge on their nose here and then.

Here's another major point I'm making; the fact that humans have gobs of respect for cetacean violence and hold it against humans.

So again, I suppose my main point in this hub is the expose readers to the animalistic barbarism that cetaceans are not above. They are not peaceful citizens of the ocean that we should aspire to be like. Those members of the species that are not violent (baleen whales, porpoises, pilot whales, ect.) simply aren't so because they haven't evolved that way, just the way snails haven't (except for the cone snail).

It's about human romanticism, and their desire to see superiority in the animal kingdom. If my hub didn't bring that across, I need to do a massive re-write. Thanks for commenting.


C. Walters 3 years ago

It's not only cetaceans that are given a free pass for what we thing of as human-like cruelty toward other species. Did you ever read this New York Times article on wanton attacks by male elephants upon both humans and other mega-fauna?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/08/magazine/08eleph...

Some truly bizarre and cruel behavior that people think only humans are capable of. It seems that some aggressive elephants raped rhinoceroses!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Us humans are always expected to keep our natural hormones under control, but of course, elephants are 'just animals' when they go on their rampages (although some people try again to blame this on us). Yet, this contradicts the BS they are pushing to try and give them (animals that with complex neocortexes like great apes, cetaceans, and elephants) our equal status. Amazes me how short-sighted most people are. Even those who agree with me on my anti-animal rights stance possess this same idealization of non-humans.


Batfox 3 years ago

Yeah we should hold them all accountable for their evil deeds! They don't even believe in god! We should make a law that states, for every dolphin or whale slain in cold blood, we will take it out on them 3 fold! See how they like that! And people think they're so smart! I don't see dolphins building spaceships that fly around up in that big black thing way up there! What are you people thinking, grow a brain!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Batfox, not only have dolphins not built any spaceships, it's important to note that none of them can conceive what one is.


Kate Mc Bride profile image

Kate Mc Bride 3 years ago from Donegal Ireland

You point out an interesting double standard here-how whales are considered intelligent when doing "nice" things and then given credit for being dumb animals when they are aggressive. This hub is a great read and gives a lot of information we don't usually think about. Voted up and interesting.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you Kate! You understood my point very well.


Tatyana 3 years ago

LOL. Dolphins are dumber than humans because they don’t know what a space ship is.

This was a fun article to read, as was the previous one I read about the Blackfish trailer. I have to admit though; I enjoy reading the comments more than the articles. Very entertaining. Sometimes people come up with much unexpected ideas and explanations. I do not agree with you on about 92% of the content, but too lazy to get into argument. Plus as you may have noticed, I am a horrible writer. Good reader, but very bad writer (my own personal paradox).

I will read more of your articles, so keep on writing - you are great at it!

P.S

Just an idea: May be they are killing to stay fit (sort of like a training session –personal gym)? May be just to see if they can do it? In any case, that baby tongue must’ve been worth it, otherwise I don’t think they would’ve bothered.


Tatyana 3 years ago

In my opinion, no animal need “Human rights” or “Human Laws”, however it looks like animals need for humans to have laws, that would protect animals from humans.

One of the strong believes that I have is: Animal inbreeding for entertainment should be banned.

Can you write an article about that? Defending it of corse :)


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

That's unfortunate. I'm more interested in comments on this article than my other Blackfish one. Yes, not knowing what a spaceship is, is significant to me, because knowing what one is requires the forethought of purpose, awareness of the environment, and understanding another species. That is profound. We understand (and care to know) way more about them than they do us. Staying fit, I'm sure that's not the case since they swim thousands of miles...regardless...it causes the agony of the self-aware mother whale, and I am told that the part of the brain which controls 'emotions' in the killer whale is twice as large as ours. Very strange. Thanks for the compliment.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Well, in terms of inbreeding, no one cares when we do it with dogs. Many beloved dog breeds exist because of inbreeding. It depends on how you feel about that. I'm not bothered by these taboos that have no negative consequences, but do not like the ones that do.


what-the-.... 3 years ago

So what's your deal?

Overall it sounds to me, like you are triing to undermine the increasing public opinion that ceteceans need to be protected more than before and captivity should be banned.

Just stating the point, that they also show "cruel behavior", does not explain to me, why you wrote that hub.


what-the-.... 3 years ago

Furthermore, just looking at your other articles, it seems to me like you really think humans should have all kinds of exotic animals, whether this is out of pure interest, or "animal love"...

I believe there are good reasons why most of them are not allowed in privat households.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi "what-the-....", the main purpose of this article is to reveal the hypocrisy in many people's perspectives that cetaceans are more benevolent than human beings, and expose the way they 'flip flop' concerning things like their cruelty, which they attribute to lower animal instinct one second and then later abandon this thinking when campaigning for their rights, suggesting they have MORE compassion than humans. And yes, I think someone should have an exotic pet if that's what they want and are prepared for it, the same way a person can adopt a cat.


TJ 3 years ago

Enjoyed this article very much, although I was surprised you didn't put any reference to the practice of gang rape in dolphins. There are certain animals in the animal kingdom which I find so offensive and wickedly cruel in their behavior, I would have no problem obliterating them off of the face of the earth. Some are definitely more cruel than others. Orcas, dolphins, and hyenas are on that list. I'm also surprised you didn't mention how many people have been drowned by orcas, but I suppose people would just say they did that because they were in captivity and not as a game for fun!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

"but I suppose people would just say they did that because they were in captivity"

Don't you know it. I've heard of the gang rape stuff before, I don't know, I just never feel compelled to mention that. I don't know if the dolphin rape results in similar emotional turmoil that humans experience. Thanks for commenting.


Abby 3 years ago

I hate how the anti-caps think they're always right. Pro-captivity activists have some great points to make, too, and I love the ways you do it!

Making a pro-cap documentary... "Beautiful Eyes" vs. "Blackfish"...


Cassie 3 years ago

The biggest issue I have with this article is the author's assumption that intelligence and its accompanying morals are fixed qualities that are defined from a human perspective.

In any case, members of the dolphin family are highly intelligent. This does not mean these animals manifest their intelligence in the same manner as humans. This article screams of a lack of general cultural awareness. The reason I make this assertion is simply because the author has taken her personal morals to make qualifications about not only the intelligence of another species, but further to assume that species has established moral reasoning similar to her own.

To begin with, the values imparted throughout this article are not even consistent among human beings. While we may not agree with other cultures and their traditions, these cultures nevertheless exist and are justified using values developed by intelligent beings, here humans. For example, many people across the world sacrifice animals. I personally find the practice abhorrent but the people making the sacrifice have somehow come to an entirely different conclusion. It is highly likely these diverging views occur through the use of our innate intelligence combined with our cultural teachings.

Considering the above example, the author's premise cannot stand. It is simply illogical to believe that an animal has intelligence that manifests itself in the same manner as the author's intelligence. The author's premise that these animals are "evil" is plainly absurd when one considers the minor detail that these animals live in an entirely different atmosphere than humans. Of course they don't have the same values as human beings do (though I do not hold to the notion that these animals actually make any of the considerations the author asserts, but that's another point)!

Further, "evil" is a rather subjective quality. Look around the world, outside of your immediate community, and the variations in which this term is applied will become readily apparent.

I also think the author's argument that capturing these animals has somehow benefited the animals in the long run is not worthy of much merit. I can certainly agree with this assertion to the extent that the public's perception of orcas changed for the better with the first few captures and subsequent human interactions with orcas. However, this is no longer the case. First, no meaningful knowledge is gained through keeping orcas in captivity. These animals behave in an entirely different manner in the wild than in captivity. The large majority of information the public gains from a captive orca is not applicable to a wild orca. Second, orcas are not safe to interact with in captivity. This is interesting because there has been no documented attack on a human by a wild orca, ever. That in itself speaks volumes. Third, unlike other cetaceans, a wild orca that is injured or seriously ill does not respond to rehabilitation in captivity. My final reason is based on my own morals which clearly differ from the author's; regardless, I believe that we, as the most intelligent species on earth, must respect nature for what it is. An orca is not a public entertainer. It is the greatest predator of the sea. An orca is not human, it does not think or reason like a human, and as such, it will not respond to captivity in the way a human deems it should.

If these animals really are intelligent in the way humans are intelligent why is it that we have been so successful at killing and capturing them, and in comparison, they've failed at making even a minute dent in our population?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I think you've entirely missed the point Cassie. I agree that ocras and nowhere near as intelligent as humans and I am challenging the view that they are the benevolent, 'moral' beings that they are made out to be. Some people even go as far as to claim they are superior to us and pacifistic, and they are the ones doing what you describe. Whatever their reasons for not adding us to their dinner menus, I can't see how it is due to them favoring us over their dolphin, whale, and porpoise cousins.

I think orcas are animals with instincts. Their intelligence lies with their relatively sophisticated problem-solving abilities but not, in my opinion, with higher awareness that goes beyond basic survival traits. I may not like them as animals, but this is the case with most people who have animals they 'hate' despite the fact that they can't help themselves (like mosquitoes). Orca whales will never question their practices (or anything), unlike humans. I think this alone shows how much more remarkable humans are. Also, I think comparing captive orcas with about 99% more access to humans to wild orcas (when speaking of their attacks) is silly as well.


Cassie 3 years ago

Reading this article alone does not convey that you're merely challenging a view that cetaceans are benevolent, etc. The article (for the most part) reads as if you hold to these ideas, only you oppose the idea that they are benevolent. For instance, you remarked that you were not taught that orcas don't have to eat other cetaceans, but later learned they chose to, indicating that you hold to the belief that orcas make the conscious choice to hunt and eat cetaceans merely out of spite or ill will, instead of a means of nutrition.

I don't quite understand why you're so openly hostile to an animal. In truth, many of the reasons why one may love a mosquito can also be applied to an orca. Just as the mosquito, the orca plays its own role in maintaining viable ecosystems. Further, the large decline in many of the populations of whales and other marine mammals is not due to over hunting and exploitation by orcas. The orca simply does what it has evolved to do...

In addition, captive orcas may have more time with humans, however, I doubt this will hold true in the historical context. In considering human and orca interaction and conflict, it is silly to minimize it to less than 60 years when history tells us humans and orcas have been running into one another for thousands of years. We have record of shark attacks spanning as far back as 714 BC, yet there is no similar documentation of orca attacks.

Further, to rebut the fact that orcas have only attacked humans while in captivity with an argument that this is because they have closer contact with humans in captivity is very cyclical and really serves no purpose. First, I find it difficult to believe that over 2000 years of human and orca interaction can somehow be overshadowed and rendered irrelevant by a span of less 60 years merely because captive orcas have more access to humans, particularly here where the nature of the contact is the distinguishing feature between human/captive orca and human/wild orca relationships. Second, as I've already alluded to, the fact that captive orcas do have such close contact with humans is a likely explanation for why they are more violent in captivity. Given enough space, orcas have proven harmless to humans (for over 2000 years), yet still you hold to the notion that this long history is a silly comparison because captive orcas have "about 99% more access to humans" than wild orcas "when speaking of their attacks." Given the lack of aggression from wild orcas over so many years, the logical conclusion is that the close proximity to humans is the cause of the attacks by captive orcas.

As a side note, in the original article there is a comment that orcas eat other intelligent marine mammals even though they don't have to, presumably because resident orcas rely solely on fish. I would assume that transient orcas could theoretically survive solely on fish, as they do at SeaWorld and other marine parks. However, this assertion is problematic because the populations of fish may not be able to sustain such a large number of orcas as well as the rest of the ecosystem that relies on fish for nutrition. Further, transients travel, so unlike resident orcas their diet naturally varies from place to place. Transient orcas have to be opportunistic eaters because, unlike resident orcas they do not benefit from an established and predictable source of food, at least not year round. It may be undesirable but I doubt the variance in diet is out of malice; it is more likely a means to minimize contact between transients and residents.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Many people have suggested that cetaceans are similar to us (or superior) and have implicated that they are friendly and good-natured. I wanted to address their constant flip-flopping, on how human-like orcas are until they do something messed up, and then they attribute that to animal instinct and nature. On the other hand, they lampoon the 'human race' for all the terrible things they do. Basically, people view orcas as everything they think humans 'should' be, and yet that flies in the face of our very nature. We are all different.

The article forces people to acknowledge this if they feel orcas have 'cultures', which is being used to try and garner them 'rights'. There are many cultural things about humans that we reject, such as lack of woman's rights. I however don't see them as having cultures. Their structures are highly stable and have been that way for millions of years. To me, this is evolution. Animal groups separate and eventually speciate. I think they are in no way, shape, or form similar to humans or have culture in a human sense. What's going on with human societies is far more sophisticated.

As for comparing shark attacks to orca attacks, I think first in foremost there are WAY more sharks (about 3 different species responsible for most of the attacks) in the ocean than orcas. They are essentially fish, and they are evenly dispersed where humans dwell. Now I may make a mistake here as I'm not researching, but isn't it true that there are only a few places in the world where orcas can be in close proximity to humans? I'm certain that sharks are all up down the coast where I live, and orcas are not. If I wanted to see orcas in this region, my best shot would be around Alaska and parts of Washington. Sharks are nearly in all parts of the coastal US. In addition, they are not reserved around humans, they are just fish and swim freely. Despite all this, shark attacks can't even be considered common. Orca whales in captivity on the other hand are around humans even during their fights and moments or turmoil or social strife. I doubt orcas in these situations are around humans in the wild. This can be used as a criticism of captivity, but I think it's just obvious that animals that interact with humans will attack more. I think it just shows that people need to more acute to when animals may need space and time alone. It sounded to me that Tillikum was in another fight before killing Dawn.

How about this? Can you find me any other instances of a case in which a pilot whale had an altercation with a human in the wild? Because to my knowledge this happened -once-. I was under the impression that transient orcas do not eat any fish. Perhaps they can give it a try every now and then and give a baby whale a break. Yet I strongly doubt this is a conscious choice they've made (in terms of diet). It's just the animal kingdom doing what it does. Although, they have killed for non-food purposes as well.


Cassie 3 years ago

Let me first say that I was not comparing shark attacks to orca attacks. I was merely demonstrating the time span in which humans have been documenting shark attacks for the purpose of setting a rough time frame in which we could expect any attacks by an orca to be recorded. If people are documenting shark attacks, they are likely to have the documented attacks by other animals, yet none exist in regard to orcas.


Cassie 3 years ago

As you may have guessed I am a fan of the orca. But in the years I've spent reading anything I can get my hands on, I have never heard (or read) someone say a member of the dolphin family is as intelligent or more intelligent as a human until I read your post. From my experience the people that love orcas and other cetaceans do so in the same manner as a person loves dogs.

Holding an animal in high esteem because it does what it is made to do is not the same as making a comparison between the animal and a human. I honestly have no idea where you're getting this...I've never heard a person say that humans should strive to be more like orcas.

Orcas do have cultures. Again, you're making the error of attributing the nature of our cultures on orcas. You're referencing our social culture. It's simply not the same thing. When you hear of orca culture, it is a pod, its distinct vocalizations, and any hunting practices that are specific to it. This may also include the differences between transients and residents. You can deny that this exists but it won't change the fact that it's a well established scientific fact.

The orca has been on Earth for close to 9 million years longer than the "evolved human." I'm not sure if your statement that animal groups separate and eventually speciate is in reference to orcas alone or includes humans but it seems as though you made the statement to assert that humans are superior so I will assume you did not include humans. With that said, humans are not exempt from evolution. Also, there is some speculation that transient and resident orcas are a result of evolution and are actually different species. Regardless, subscribing to the "survival of the fittest" theory, I'm not expecting a drastic evolutionary change for orcas any more than humans.

Also, orcas are the most widely distributed animal next to humans. They can be found in all oceans, though prefer the colder regions. There are several accounts of surfers, especially in New Zealand that report of orcas joining the fun when the waves are good. There is also a marine biologist in New Zealand that swims with orcas.

In my first post, I stated that orcas are not safe to work with in captivity because of the numerous attacks and deaths. It seems as though we've come to the same conclusion that this is true. However, I don't believe orcas should be in captivity and you believe that the trainers need to be more aware of the orcas' needs for space. However, I'm guessing that trainers have yet to predict these attacks based on behavior because they nevertheless get in the water. This leaves me to conclude that captive orcas are not predictable. Anytime a trainer gets in the water (or anywhere near the edge of the tank) he/she is at risk of being attacked or killed. It seems as though captivity alters the nature of these animals. Wild orcas do not attempt to pull people in the water, nor do they show any interest in pursuing a human that is already in the water.

Tilikum was involved in two deaths before Dawn. He is a bit different than most captive orcas, especially those in captivity now. He was born in the wild and was taken from his pod when he was about 2. I don't know if you've ever watched a video of the capture of an orca, but if you watch one I think it will become readily apparent why so many people opposed the capture of orcas, and thankfully were able to have it stopped, at least for the US market.

I have no idea if a pilot whale has been involved in an attack in the wild and am unsure why that is relevant as we have been discussing orcas.

Transient orcas do eat mostly marine mammals but occasionally eat fish. They can obviously survive solely on fish because they do while in captivity. My point was your earlier comment stating that they did not have to eat marine mammals.

Orcas do "play" with their prey, but for the most part what we consider "playing" is actually just the orca trying to kill the prey before eating it to avoid injury. Further, there have been several reports of empathetic behaviors exhibited by orcas towards their prey. For instance, a researching watching the Argentinan orcas beach themselves to capture baby seals reported that a large orca grabbed a baby seal off the shore, took it out a bit only to turn around and put the baby seal back on the beach unharmed.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Either you are very lucky or I am unlucky. I see these comments all the time and I'm planning more articles on the subject. Here is an example: http://www.earthintransition.org/2010/05/dolphins-...

Or go to any Youtube video that discusses cetacean intelligence or even just about wild dolphins. Go to any 'inspirational' story about a unique animal friendship and the comments will have at least 20 of these on the front page: "If only people could be this way". Go ahead and try it. It is an increasingly common mindset that humans are dumber than animals because they are 'destructive to nature'. One doesn't even need to be an extremist to hold this view, I've seen it literally everywhere.

"You can deny that this exists but it won't change the fact that it's a well established scientific fact."

I'm not going to quibble over definitions. If someone wants to lower the standards for the word 'culture' that is one thing, but comparing the crude 'cultures' of any animal to the complexity and instability of human societies is what I'm objecting to. With this 'progressive' definition of culture I'm sure many other animals can meet the criteria.

All I mean with my evolution comments was that the orca 'culture' is consistent with survival and evolutionary mechanisms, while many aspects of human life isn't. For me, I don't find culture to be congruent with animal instinct. Culture can be shaped by instincts, but not be one.

"Wild orcas do not attempt to pull people in the water"

Of course not. Once again, I don't agree with that logic, but in a way we agree. I do absolutely believe that orca whales in captivity will be different from wild orcas. I think this is the case with ALL wild animals. I have a spotted genet that in the wild, would never allow me to get within 30 feet of it at any time. Even zoo animals are different from wild animals. Only the most simplistic animals will not have altered behavior when interacting or living with humans. Simply being in the human environment by essence is altering behavior.

"There is also a marine biologist in New Zealand that swims with orcas."

Yes, Ingrid Visser, someone else told me that. I think she may have been the one describing the whales as 'high-fiving' each other' that I've mentioned in this article.

" is actually just the orca trying to kill the prey before eating it to avoid injury."

If they are so worried about injury a full grown whale's baby is certainly not something they should be after. I find it very strange that they would expend so much energy doing this.


Molly 3 years ago

What's worse than a baby-seal hunting orca? A factory farming Orca. KIDDING. Sort of.


??? 3 years ago

''Sharks are just killing machines'' really?

I have a banded cat shark and they are very friendly, in fact they were subjects of bullying by 5 three inch damsels, though the shark was several feed long. I had damsels in the past and they have a tendency to kill for fun, just killing a clam and tearing the meat out, they did not eat the meat, and the clam was meant for Blowy the puffer fish. The damsels eventually got separated because of bullying, picking out the spines and then attacking the poor foot long fish. One of my damsels even reorganized the decors to make a death trap for a maroon clownfish. However, the damsels even broke the electrical wires, make it perfect for him, but bad for the clown. I never had another damsel since that.

Bettas are even worse, Killer actually named himself. He killed over 60 fish in my 100 gallon tank, while I was at my bedroom. Killer wasn't attacking anybody when I went to the bedroom, but when I woke out he ate all of the fish except for a ram cichlid, which I suspect made an alliance with Killer because they always swim together. Sharks and other scary animals are often actually, the subject of bullying, by seemly harmless animals. Everybody goes mad when a bird of prey carries away a cat or a tiger attacks a dog, but orcas attack sharks, damsels are really mean to make the toughies into the push over and Killer was so involved in killing that he killed over of my 60 fish in a single night.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

"???" you should really read about the territorial nature of certain fish before stocking your aquarium. Fish do not kill 'for fun'. Impossible.


Person 3 years ago

I don't see your point here. I already knew dolphins and orcas performed such terrible acts, but I still support rights for them. I don't want to give them rights because they are "nice and pretty" and we should "try and be like them". I want to give them rights because they have high intelligence and sensitive emotional lives. Does the fact that many people have murdered other people mean that all humans are murderers? Of course not. All dolphins do not commit those atrocious acts.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi Person, your human comparison is a bit faulty. I don't know of any killer whales or dolphins that object to these acts.


Person 3 years ago

Well that's because you aren't a dolphin/whale. ;) You stated yourself that different orcas will hunt different foods based on their cultures, so your argument that the orcas who hunt baby whales and sea lions don't actually need to, works both ways. Sure some orcas hunt those animals needlessly, but others in other cultures don't. Some people kill babies. Should all people not deserve rights?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

No, it's because no orcas and dolphins -object- to these acts, they just don't engage in them. They do what they've been raised to do, and it's been the same way for millions of years. I don't consider that culture. The comparison to 'some people kill babies' doesn't fly. Human culture morphs significantly, and then you have cultures WITHIN cultures, and the individual actions of groups of people. Humans can actually think and alter themselves. How much longer will it take for orcas to shift their 'values'? It will never happen.


Person 3 years ago

Well the question is, why would they shift their values? What significant purpose would it have for them? They don't need to, so why would they. I also think you need to do more research into dolphin cultures, because they have not stayed the same way for millions of years as you say. I also still want to know why they shouldn't receive rights. I haven't seen any arguments at all that show why.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

There is also absolutely no reason for us the shift our values. We can start by not giving rights to cetaceans. This would only be to our detriment. This is one of the points I'm making here in this article, humans being criticized for not being (what is perceived as) a thousand steps above the intelligence of cetaceans, and therefore being deemed as below them. It makes little sense. My reasoning is simple; dolphins should have rights when chickens and snails do.

Which dolphin cultures haven't stayed the same? I hope you aren't referring to any of the following: dolphins using sponges, dolphins hunting 'with' human fishermen.


Person 3 years ago

I will be happy to give chickens and snails rights when they start speaking their own languages and can outwit humans. I still don't see how giving cetaceans the right to life and freedom would be detrimental to us. We don't need dolphins for entertainment or food, and they haven't even been part of our ordinary diets, except for the Inuits of course.

Dolphins using sponges is a cultural change, and I don't see why you don't think so. I'm pretty sure you are not a marine biologist, or someone who studies culture. Another example is rather recent. Some dolphins in Shark Bay have recently started using conch shells to catch fish. They scoop the fish up in the shells and then manipulate it so that the fish slides into their mouths. The separate dialects of each pod or group of dolphins can change as well when under certain conditions.

The only rights I am advocating for cetaceans is the right to life and freedom. I don't see how anyone could be against that unless they like killing them.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Darn, I knew about the conch thing too, knew there was something else I should have put. So this is 'culture'? Finding a better/unique way to obtain food, probably based on material availability? I prefer this definition: the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time, or a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc. The conch shell use is currently thought to be isolated among a few individuals, and obviously not consistently. So if that's culture, any 'trick' that I can come up with and show another person must be 'culture' and not a simple skill. I believe true culture is a state of mind, not a learned technique. Humans must go through dramatic culture shifts ever second of the day if you're going to crudely state the definition like that. So if people want to refer to this as 'culture', it doesn't change the fact that it is crude and simplistic compared to the human condition.

"I don't see how anyone could be against that unless they like killing them."

I support reasonable captivity, that doesn't involve any killing. However I'm not so keen on forcing my 'culture' down the throats of other humans. I feel that if it morally wrong for dolphins to be in zoos (outside of issues with their welfare) than this must be the case for all animals. Cetaceans might be a little more intelligent, but all animals have their special attributes, perhaps even 'cultures', despite no self-awareness.

I can't see why the line should be drawn at 'speaking languages'. When people start drawing arbitrary lines there will be no end to it. I think it should be drawn at true 'human-ness', whatever that may be. Activists seem to be dedicated to undermining words that emphasize the exceptionalism of humans.


Person 3 years ago

Oh, ok. I can see that argument, despite the fact that I don't agree. :P I'm glad to know you at least support their right to life.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Ok, well thanks for your comments.


BruiserT profile image

BruiserT 3 years ago from London, UK

I would be interested to know how often Orcas kill whales. I wonder what their reason for doing it is. It certainly doesn't make them 'evil' but I completely agree with you regarding people who think of animals in the spiritual sense. Animals are just trying to survive. They don't have any mystic qualities. What I hate the most is this new way of calling pets 'fur babies' and saying they are crossing 'the rainbow bridge' when they die. Give me a break.

Anyway, I digress....free the whales!


StevenD 3 years ago

I just stumbled on this article, and—as a marine biologist—I have to say that it's good to see an article like this presenting the counterpoints to what I'm drowned in on a near-daily basis. In fairness, there are arguments and counterarguments to be made for the other side, but I think this was a well-reasoned argument that I happen to agree with.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks StevenD!


ssrec 3 years ago

Bless you for having the time to put your ridiculous thoughts online... and in such detail! I hope that my hard earned tax dollars do not go to you in any way shape or form so that you have the opportunity to purge these insane amounts of bullshit. Get a real job and a life my dear. Or just jump off a bridge. Thanks from the rest of the world!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

O...k...


2Real4U 3 years ago

Lumping all these Cetaceans into one category of "dolphin" displays a level of ignorance on the subject which you are writing. It also contradicts your very points.

If a tribe of humans was found that tortures their young, are cannibals, or behave in a way that causes distress to other cultures, we wouldn't say their behavior represents all humans as a single organism.

The fact that various cetaceans have distinct and separate behavior contradicts some of your key points. It reveals that we as humans can't really understand what is going on with the level of intelligence of cetaceans. You mention several times, their cultural behaviors, being that there are different cultures within the classification of cetaceans, shouldn't you examine and refer to them as separate when making any points about them.

There was much research done off the coast of Santa Barbara up to around 40 years ago on the intelligence of dolphins (which at that time, did not include whales) There was even a language (taught to them, and by them to us) used to exchange ideas. The studies were discontinued as real information was being revealed.

I think the author of this article would be shocked and need to adjust their reasoning if they were exposed to the information discovered in those studies and by those researchers.

There's many reasons why the studies were discontinued and forbidden.

I don't possess the manuscripts, but was privy to a few passages. Dolphins themselves relayed ideas about Orcas' behavior, and some dolphins are aware of human efforts (and desires) to create a way to leave the planet and move through space; maybe not quite a space ship though (which is a primitive mean to satisfy that desire).

It really doesn't make sense to lump all cetaceans into one category and then make assumptions and judgements about them.

I haven't looked into what truth and bs is floating around the internet on this subject, honestly. If you are able to find actual research on what was discovered off the coast of Santa Barbara, long ago, I suggest you educate yourself.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

2Real4U, without evidence your statements mean zilch to me. I've studied the recent consensus in the scientific community regarding cetacean intelligence and what you are saying comes far from left field. And the animals I'm discussing ARE dolphins so I will be lumping them together by that term, just as humans and chimps are apes. The difference between how people perceive humans and dolphins is that they presume dolphins are morally superior to us when in reality they just ignore negative behavior or attribute it to dumb animal instinct, which is why I made those arguments.


Ellen 3 years ago

Maybe orcas have more intelligence then they know what to do with? They're cruel because nobody ever told them what's good and what's bad. They are in the wild and they don't have any God besides their own nature, that is to say their own intelligence and superior hunting skills. Maybe their nature tells them that they are kings of the ocean and can do what ever they want. They may seem cruel to us but they are creative, making a hunting or a kill into a game. I don't think they are sadists bur creative and playful without any understanding for animals who may seem more gentle but don't have the skills orcas do. I think orcas can be loyal and loving when treated that way, among their own pod and in some cases with humans. They do have wonderful qualities. But they are top predators as well and they do what they do, live, play and kill in intelligent and creative ways. I don't have to like it, that's just the way it is - complicated.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi Ellen, that seems to contradict what some scientists are saying about their 'complicated emotion' and organs that we don't have. All of what you said could be applied to humans, and most people do not glamorize it.


imsumer profile image

imsumer 3 years ago

To start transients kill marine mammals residents eat fish. Residents don't like transients & will attack them. Maybe they do protest to the killing of seals and baby grey whale. In Eden, Australia, whalers used orcas in grey whale hunts. They had a business agreement so to speak. I for one believe that they are extremely intelligent. They deserve more than what seaworld has to offer them. I don't like zoos. They are unnatural and I remind my family of that when we visit our local one, unless it's a rehabilitation zoo. I was fortunate to see Itsy a disabled sea turtle that in my opinion is different than taking a healthy wild animal and putting it on display. They also had a dolphin show where they claimed they were rehab dolphins. I'm not sure they were & can definitely see a business claiming that was the case. However after seeing a playful dolphin jumping in the ocean I felt sorry for the aquarium ones. I don't think animals deserve prison sentences for pure entertainment purpose. Unless its for the health of a species like what they're trying to do with Tasmanian devils. Winter is also a prime example. That is a dolphin that should be used as an ambassador and obviously kept captive. I don't agree that we shoulsee all killer whales as blood thirsty. I don't see humans as blood thirsty until a serial killer is captured.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Never heard of residents attacking transients imsumer. Most zoo animals are captive bred.


imsumer profile image

imsumer 3 years ago

Look it up. Transients & residents don't get along in the wild or captivity. As far as zoos go yes they are now captive bred and traded. I also understand that that might be the best conservation we can offer. But I live in a state that destroyed 4 wild baby screech owls because they don't take wild animals, even tho half an hour away a rehab zoo did. They could have called a rapture center also only an hour away. That zoo choose to kill them. Maybe I should put more blame on the human that took the owlets to that zoo, but they trusted the zoo. Zoos fail in critical moments.


imsumer profile image

imsumer 3 years ago

So I took my own advice and looked it up. You have to dig in order to find articles on transients & residents dislike for each other. That's not why I'm commenting tho I enjoyed reading the four articles I read. Very informative and well done. Keep it up even if we disagree its great to have a place that boosts education.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

@ imsumer So you didn't find the article? And because of what one zoo did you hate all of them?


imsumer profile image

imsumer 3 years ago

No I found it you have to search farther than just the first google page. Hate? I think you are missing my point. Next you'll say puppy mills are needed instead of shelters.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

In the time it took you to write that you could have posted the link. If you're not interested then neither am I.


imsumer profile image

imsumer 3 years ago

http://www.clippervacations.com/whales-marine-life...

Halfway thru the article. Give me a few more minutes & I'll post the others

Not halfway second paragraph.

http://www.takepart.com/photos/wild-killer-whales/...

And then that one which you probably won't like. But......


imsumer profile image

imsumer 3 years ago

And I'm done. They have more articles but I'm going to let you do your own research into it if you're truly interested. It's like a child asking how something is spelled instead of looking in a dictionary.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Well thanks for finally providing the links. Was that so hard?

Fyi, if a child doesn't know how something is spelled how the heck are they going to find it in a dictionary?


Laura 2 years ago

This can't actually be real...


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Oh but it is.


Cynthia N 2 years ago

There are a lot of things in this article I definitely agree with, especially in terms of the flawed reasoning behind romanticizing the animal kingdom while ignoring the reality of violence and cruelty that is naturally and, seemingly just as irrationally, prevalent as the violence and cruelty to which humans subject each other. Before we turn to the standards of animals as the saving grace of humanity, we had better get pretty clear about what those standards are. AGREED.

However, I think the heart of the argument was not touched. You continually stress human superiority, our "higher awareness" and that we are uniquely "remarkable". I believe that feeds into humanity's flawed insistence on offering respect to other life forms based on comparisons to ourselves. Meaning that we measure intelligence and behavior as the reasons for not, I don't know, mindlessly destroying other creatures' habitats and food sources, denying them the practice of their most basic instincts (ie: factory farms), torturing and killing them without thought to their suffering, etc. Just as you stress that flip-flopping double-standards and sugar-coating is flawed, I believe no amount of research or studying is ever going to make our current mindset less problematic. What we need to learn is that life itself is inherently worthy of our respect no matter how similar or unsimilar to ourselves.

It actually does not matter whether or not an animal is as intelligent, less intelligent; as compassionate, more compassionate; as evolved or less evolved than the human species. Remarkability is not ours to decide or take pride in possessing. It is not for us to offer any other creature's right to a happy, healthy existence as a privilege. Regardless of how much we know or have achieved or are capable of, humans remain the ONLY species NOT naturally depended on by ANY other creature on this planet. This means that if every remnant of human existence was wiped from the Earth, life on this planet would continue absolutely uninterrupted. In fact, this is actually how Earth worked for literally MILLIONS of years before our arrival. The same cannot be said for even one species on this planet in reverse, as evidenced by the impact every extinction has had on every remaining ecosystem. I am truly humbled by that fact. Some might look at that and say our fast evolution means that we deserve mastery of the world. I look at that, thinking of everything we've destroyed and and how little we've put back into it, and in my opinion we seem far more like ungrateful parasites than masters.

My point is. What we do to animals and to the world we live in is wrong. And if we are so evolved and so superior we should not have to rely on romanticized ideals OR scientific study to prove that for us.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

"I believe that feeds into humanity's flawed insistence on offering respect to other life forms based on comparisons to ourselves."

Is it really flawed Cynthia N? It's your ideology, vs. the ideology of another. Who is to say you're right? Can we afford the same respect that we do to dogs (an animal that shares similarities with us) with mosquitoes (an animal that has virtually no similarities with us)? You know that I love mosquitoes too.

"mindlessly destroying other creatures' habitats and food sources, denying them the practice of their most basic instincts (ie: factory farms), torturing and killing them without thought to their suffering, etc."

I need to remind you that all animals do this, therefore you are holding us to higher standards than them. The very idea of doing this is attributing superiority to us.

"Remarkability is not ours to decide or take pride in possessing."

If we are not remarkable, why are you asking us the change? Do other animals change?

"humans remain the ONLY species NOT naturally depended on by ANY other creature on this planet."

If you gave that statement some more thought you would realize it is false. There are millions of animals dependent on us, the first obvious example being domesticated animals, handicapped animals that we care and provide for, and even captive animals that are imprinted on humans. Most would be annihilated if we disappeared. Many species would be extinct if we didn't save them from ourselves. We actually acknowledged their existence and allowed them to rebound. What other animals in the history of evolution have stopped preying on an animal when they realized that animal was disappearing? Many animals have also adapted to our existence, it's just how evolution works. The coyote populations have exploded (and replaced wolves) due to our modernization. Pigeons thrive in city environments.

Humans are a keystone species-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_species

"And if we are so evolved and so superior we should not have to rely on romanticized ideals OR scientific study to prove that for us."

This is your problem, where do you get the idea that things should be the way you describe? This is nature. There are NO rules. There is no such thing as 'higher evolved'. We are just as 'highly evolved' as a bat, or a tunicate, or a palm tree.


Cynthia N 2 years ago

My ideology:

We should honor all life on this planet, viewing ourselves as an ever-evolving part of a whole rather than masters of the world.

And that: "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree it'll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid."-Einstein

You could call that an ideology, but it is a much better ideology than one of careless destruction that has not only led to the suffering and extinction of life forms we will never understand but the exponential and irreparable depletion of resources WE NEED FOR OUR OWN SURVIVAL. What you call "another's" ideology I would call a course of action fueled by arrogance and ignorance that is leading to our own annihilation. You could call my argument an ideology. I call it a solution to an otherwise cyclical problem. We should not have to prove an animals' worth in order to not destroy it. To me that is an illogical and inefficient means of decision making that is rather ridiculous given the present consequences of that frame of mind. In order to move forward, I propose we let go of that way of thinking entirely and choose to accept that life itself is reason enough for our respect. And it wouldn't hurt if we reasoned that we didn't have to completely destroy our Earth to reap it's benefits.

"I need to remind you that all animals do this, therefore you are holding us to higher standards than them. The very idea of doing this is attributing superiority to us."

Um, that argument is actually a fallacy. Since when is holding yourself to a higher standard an insinuation of superiority? Choosing to challenge yourself and make the best choice you are capable of is in no way contingent on someone else doing so first. Have you never heard that "two wrongs don't make a right", "If all your friends jumped off a bridge..."? By your logic Gandhi, MLK Jr, Rosa Parks, and even Pocahontas were all bananas. That is equivalent to saying to teach my children not to do drugs is to teach them they are inherently superior to drug addicts. You miss the point completely. Again, I stress that superiority is not in question.

This is a question of choice not superiority. Part of being a human being is the ability to choose. Whether or not that is a unique feature is unimportant. We have the privilege of the capacity to form ideas, contemplate right and wrong, make choices, and adapt extremely easily. And due to that privilege I believe wherever a compassionate choice can be made, it should. All any of us, animal and plant alike, have on this planet is each other. And I believe we should take care of each other for that reason alone. And an animals' ability or inclination to make that choice should not impact us. Now THAT is an ideology, and if you disagree, that is your right. However you would be in direct opposition to the ideology of the U.S. Constitution which repeatedly stresses a desire to work together for the good of the whole. You can start with the Preamble if you'd like to fact-check that.

Second of all, the only known instances of an animal species nearly destroying an ecosystem are the instances in which humans ignorantly introduce foreign species' to an unfamiliar territory.

Thirdly, I did not say that humans are not remarkable. I believe that life itself is remarkable and as such, humans are not in a position to say what is and what is not remarkable. We should still be marveling at the fact that we exist at all! That is what I meant. I am asking us to change because I am a human, I understand humans, and I know for a fact that we are not only capable of change but desperately in need of it. We have placed ourselves in a position of mastery over the world and given that we have caused all the problems that are destroying it, we should reconsider that position. If we do not commit to change, we are inevitably going to destroy ourselves along with everything else.

"Humans remain the ONLY species NOT naturally depended on by ANY other creature on this planet." Perhaps the word I should have capitalized was NATURALLY. Every human-dependent animal you listed was a result of human action. Domesticated animals were purposely domesticated for human benefit. Handicapped animals do not need humans in order to be handicapped. And the key word you used when describing coyote and pigeon populations was "adaption." They don't need us to exist, conditions we created just allow for more of them to exist. That is not dependency, that is called coincidence.

We are the ones who need animals. We need plants. We need natural resources. We are dependent in ways that plants and animals simply are not. They are only dependent on each other. We are the kids not picked in gym class. Unfortunately, we grew up to be the kids that came to school with a gun and shot everyone. All I'm suggesting is that we put the gun down before we commit suicide. And yes I think the vulgarity of that metaphor was absolutely necessary.

On a lighter note, in my opinion, the mosquito deserves as much respect as the dog, or the bald eagle, or the human for that matter. Anyone who has killed or attempted to kill a bug in my presence can vouch for my stance on that.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

No one is advocating 'mindless' destruction. I can be mindful and still destroy something. I'm sure you're aware that in order for us to have advancements like these computers it will require resources that will in some way negatively impact the environment. Therefore if your desire is to end things like this in order to 'respect' life properly I will tell you right now, it's not going to happen. I also oppose giving legal personhood to non-humans. An animal must measure up to a human in consciousness in order to be considered to have inalienable rights. It's great if another animal can swim better or fly than me, but that means jack when it comes to important issues like this. It sounds like you think all animals should have legal personhood. I hope I don't need to explain why this is never going to happen and CAN'T happen. I do by default try not to 'destroy' things but there are limits and conditions.

"Since when is holding yourself to a higher standard an insinuation of superiority?"

Because animals don't even have 'standards', nor do they have the ability to have it. Therefore we are superior, where it matters.

"And due to that privilege I believe wherever a compassionate choice can be made, it should."

According to you, it sounds not like a privilege but a curse, because unlike other animals, we need to hold ourselves back from our desires to conform to your beliefs, otherwise suffer self-loathing.

"the ideology of the U.S. Constitution which repeatedly stresses a desire to work together for the good of the whole."

Giving personhood to all animals certainly won't do that (the 'whole' not applying to animals), quite the opposite.

"That is not dependency, that is called coincidence."

No, not a 'coincidence'. Our change makes other conditions change. Our disappearance would alter the presence and densities of other species immediately, just as it would if another apex predator were to disappear. In the broad scheme, our 'unnatural' alterations cannot be 'unnatural', because they exist under natural conditions (a carbon-based life form utilizing its abilities and behaving). You even said our intelligence is just a trait, it doesn't make us 'special'. Why do you consider our complex thinking, which results in the alteration of other species as well as the displacement of species 'unnatural' just because it is unique?

"We are the ones who need animals."

If by "we" you are referring to modernized humans. Considering what this article is about, what animals 'need' killer whales? If you think some animals may overpopulate without killer whales, do you not think the same would happen without us? Population density shifts would occur, as they would with us.

"And yes I think the vulgarity of that metaphor was absolutely necessary."

It wasn't vulgar, just bizarre.


Genevieve 2 years ago

Hmm.. I'm glad that you posted this. It represents a decent start towards understanding human-animal interaction. But let's delve deeper.

First, I completely agree. Humans tend to idealize animals that have superior intelligence; meanwhile, everything on this planet (animals and plants alike) are equally as evolved as one another. Sure, humans are smarter than mosquitoes, but mosquitoes are just as evolved as human beings (they have survived as a species- and that is testament enough).

Now, let's move to the idea that orcas and/or dolphins are "cruel" and that that is why we shouldn't GIVE them rights, like human rights. We have decided as a species (homo sapien-sapien) that human beings innately HAVE rights. No one can GIVE us rights, because of our very nature we OUGHT to have them; that's why they're called human rights, or also known as NATURAL rights. By our very nature of existing we HAVE rights.

Now, this next piece is going to sound like an attack against you, which I promise it isn't. It's just that I will use you as an example, since you had enough courage and gusto to make this post, and since I am responding to your comment. By using you in my example, you will take it heart much more...

You say that dolphins don't stand up against murder, as humans stand up against murder. First and foremost, there is no evidence that dolphins do or don't stand up against murder, just as there is no evidence that you do or don't stand up against murder. But, if I were to let you still use this in your argument, that dolphins don't stand up against murder, I would ask, what have you done to prevent genocide, murder, rape, theft, or anything of the like, other than post on your blog, of course.

Third, you have pointed out that non-human animals are capable of "cruelty" (which is a human word) just as human animals are capable of cruelty. The main problem with your argument here is that you say because non-human animals are "cruel" they do not deserve rights. You mention that you are an advocate of human rights, yet also mention that humans CAN BE "Cruel", just as non-human animals CAN BE "Cruel"....In other words, orcas have killed a baby grey whale, therefore orcas in general are not worthy of rights, BUT at least one human has killed another human so then should none of us have rights? I doubt that you, as a human, would think it's okay to take away your rights because of what Hitler has done, or what whites had done to African slaves. We don't take away all humans rights because of one human (or several for that matter) because we realize that humans, as intelligent living beings, HAVE rights...although we didn't originally think this, or at least tried to ignore this, specifically about Africans because we wanted to use them as slaves...free work, minimum care, so long as they worked for us. Sounds kinda like how to treat captive orcas and dolphins in places like Seaworld. We make intelligent beings work for us for profit with minimum care to their needs as beings. Thankfully we've evolved from this thought process towards humans, but for some reason we, as humans, still think that we have the "RIGHT" to deny natural rights to other beings (namely orcas and dolphins, since that's what your post is about).

Also, have you thought that maybe the ability to be "cruel" like humans and other intelligent animals can be cruel, is because they are intelligent? You didn't post that mosquitoes are cruel for killing people with West Nile and Malaria. Why? Because they aren't intelligent. Therefore, in order to BE cruel- one must be smart. The fact that orcas and dolphins have the ABILITY to be cruel is all the more reason to ACKNOWLEDGE (not give) their rights.

So you might be asking, so when do we draw the line? How can we NOT GIVE, but ACKNOWLEDGE the rights of orcas and dolphins, yet justify killing mosquitoes, or chickens or cows or plants for that matter? Well the thing is is that we have to eat, or we will die, just like other animals. So, in exchange for recognizing that all things are evolved as much as humans and understanding the sanctity of all life on this plant (including plants),we have to draw the line somewhere. The reason why humans typically draw the line with intelligence is because when you look in a mirror, you know that that is you, and that you have a personality. Other intelligent animals, like chimpanzees and arguably dolphins and orcas, also have this same trait. In addition, we have also realized that killing animals with incredible physical capabilities (like lions, alligators, whales, etc.) is "cruel" because they are at the top of the food chain and are ecologically necessary for sustainability, plus they are considered physically "superior." Anyway, that's the reason, or at least mine, for considering why intelligence is the bar for having rights.

Next time you look in a mirror, and recognize that Melissa A. Smith is everything that you know Melissa A Smith to be, and you realize, "HeY, I'm Melissa A Smith", tell yourself, like you would tell an orca or dolphin, that you're not going to GIVE yourself rights...unless of course, that you think that you just deserve them...

p.s that's what "consciousness" means.



Genevieve 2 years ago

Do not feel pressured to post this remark. It is merely a true reflection of the state of affairs that I believe you should read. I checked out your profile on HubPages and realized that you do not appear to be white. In light of my recent argument against slavery, and understanding that people did not consider African Americans to have rights, my post should hit home for you. There was immense "scientific" data that denied African Americans personhood, based on the assumption that they were "less than" human. Obviously, we have grown as a society to know with true scientific information that this assumption is not true. Do you not see how your assumption of drawing the line at "true-humanness" is problematic? 60 years ago, "true-humaness" would not have included anyone with a "drop of black blood." As a society we have grown and morally and ethically evolved. That is not to say that things are perfect, with race or gender, or as hopefully you will see, with respect to non-human animals. As a female writing this post, I was also once considered to be "less than." In Puritan times, when a woman got married she was considered legally dead. Did you know that in some African countries it is considered murder to kill a Bonobo because they are THAT close to humans? You may want to rethink your assumptions in light of human history before denying any rights.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Hi Genevieve, maybe it's not clear and I need to re-read this article, but I was fighting two monsters here-- the idea that dolphins are pacifistic and therefore are superior to humans, and the arguments for non-human personhood. My personal position on the matter isn't clear, because I was trying to point out the contradictions. It is common for supporters of cetacean rights to also believe they have 'more advanced' emotions or morals over humans, pointing out their 'superior societies'. Well, it's obvious the animals can't be both superiorly emotional and loving while at the same time, possessing awareness that should render the action of killing whale babies unethical. So my main point is how they get away with this and humans get away with nothing, in the eyes of these people. I'm hoping the article made people think.

I do believe that dolphins have some level of awareness, but I do not believe they have morals akin to ours. Humans have sophisticated understanding because of their use of language, which is not possessed by any other species. Animals have crude communication systems, and while they develop natural hierarchies and social systems, these are natural, unchanging (and therefore unfaltering) systems. I do think an orca should be able to understand the pain it is causing a mother whale, but does it care? Probably not, but this probably cannot be changed. The human capacity for change does not mean the human's entire race should be criticized, it should be the opposite, that is why we are a marvel. That is why our psychology is advanced.

Make of that what you wish. There is likely no basis for criticizing an animal with a 'culture' such as this one, my title does not reflect my belief. In order for people to maintain the belief that dolphins are 'innocent' they are acknowledging that they are not different from other animals (and we are). If people want to go the other way, and believe dolphins are like humans, they should hate them just as they declare their hatred for humans.


Genevieve 2 years ago

Something else bothers me. In several threads you call people biased when in fact it is clear that you are biased. You are an exotic animal owner, who owns several different species of exotic animals. You mention that you are an "isolated" person. Your description of yourself fits the personality and psychological profile of an animal hoarder. All of your posts are biased in that you are defending captivity of wild animals because you personally have a large moral stake in the argument, you own exotic animals and are defending your right to own these various animals, which is why all of your posts are opinion pieces and have no verifiable facts. A lot of media attention is currently on captive dolphin species, and so you have clearly directed your vehemence against these animals as a way to defend your practice of owning exotic animals. I have read a lot of your articles today, mostly because I am so shocked to see that no one has picked up on this correlation between your personal profile and your clearly judgmental and biased opinion pieces, but also because it is shocking to see that you don't really understand what people are posting because you are using all of your defense mechanisms and have targeted orcas and dolphins, and people who are simply trying to do their best to right previous wrongs. No one is saying orcas should have the right to vote for the President, just that they deserve to be in an environment that is bigger than a fish bowl. I don't know if you realize this, but most of the tanks that they keep the orcas in at SW are not even deep enough for the animal to swim downwards. Also, the length of the pool is very small for their size. It would be like keeping your exotic cat in a cat carrier its entire life and never letting it out, and then on top of that, putting your hands in the cage to feed it constantly and making it do tricks for food rolling around in a cat carrier.

Speaking of meta-cognition, as you do in your articles, I'm not so sure that you realize why you are so against acknowledging that animals have intelligence or that they deserve a decent quality of life, but I will remind you. Writing all of these posts is your way of defending your own personal practices. If you notice in all of your threads, you always come back to the idea that captivity is okay, humans help animals, animals are not conscious beings, we learn a lot about animals from keeping them in captivity or zoos, etc. While some of this is partially true its also a very archaic ideology and it is not a valid justification defending SW. That's like defending slavery because we got a lot of cheap cotton and sugar and plantation owners made a lot of money.... The ends don't justify the means.

Once again, now that I realize why you're so passionate about this subject, it makes perfect sense why you simply argue with people rather than debate (and there is a difference). People are simply stating scientific proven facts, and are becoming disgruntled because you are incapable and unwilling to even listen to their perspectives- mainly because you're so preoccupied with defending your right to own exotic animals, which has also given you a false sense of entitlement, as if owning an f1 hybrid or a lizard makes you knowledgeable about animal behavior. You have a lot of posts giving people advice on their animals, and nowhere on your profile do I see any real qualifications. People with animal hoarding issues often are so consumed by their possession of these animals that they read up on them furiously, which is probably why you feel like such an expert. You are consumed by your exotic animals.

I think that that pretty much sums it up.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Genevieve, yes I am biased, just like you are. I have a belief and I seek to support it. It's not a fanciful, unsubstantiated belief like believing dolphins to be smarter than humans is. Your post is vindictive in nature so I have removed the rest of your posts, unfortunately. You have no evidence to claim that I am an 'animal hoarder'. I think that you should know that if I'm going to take time out of my day to reply to your many posts you should not open it with such an insulting remark like that. My articles consist of me using my own brain and reason to draw conclusions, often those that many people don't want to hear. No one wants to hear 'humans are smarter than all animals', even if it's true. They find it to be bigoted. These small details are important to me. Many people are allowed to get away with saying ridiculous things like this, but I'm always expected to post extensive references when I state obvious things. Throw 'humans smarter than animals' into the Google search and tell me how many sites pop up that support the things I say. It is nothing other than political correctness gone awry. Your interpretations of what I write are flat out wrong. Here is one example:

"No- you clearly indicated in your articles, not just this one, that dolphins and orcas are not smart and are not self-aware/reflecting."

This is taken from my article "Dolphin Intelligence: Should They Have Rights?"

"Exhibiting self-awareness is probably the most essential cognitive attribute that cetaceans, elephants, and great apes possess, and it is often touted as a reason why it is wrong to keep such animals in captivity. Lori Marino used mirrors to prove that the animals possess the ability, revealing that dolphins, just like great apes, respond to their reflection the way human children do. The 'mark test' was used to prove that such interactions were not deceptive; when a mark was placed on the animals being tested without their knowledge, they utilized the mirror to further inspect it."

http://hubpages.com/animals/Cetacean-Intelligence-...

Your conclusions are fabrications that your sentiment is feeding you.


Genevieve 2 years ago

What I find interesting Melissa, is that you leave up the post where I call you an animal hoarder, but take down the post where I rebut you're entire argument fact by fact several supporting details. It must be nice to take off any post you want to make yourself sound better. I wish I could take down your entire hubpage, but I don't because I recognize that you have a right to make your statements, just as I have a right to make mine (hey were talking about rights again).

Your arguments are incredibly unclear, jumbled, and frankly a mess. They don't make sense, why? Because you are so blinded by your exotic animals that you cannot make sense out of the a b cs

If what I said was so wrong, then you would want everyone online to see how stupid I sound and you would have rebutted my argument. Instead you deleted it, most likely because you have nothing left to say. Nothing that I posted was derogatory in nature or unfair in my conclusions. You call people stupid, which I had not even done, maybe if I would have you would have left my post up?...

Also, I see that you have a Q&A on your blog arguing that people shouldn't be able to take other peoples blogs down because they have misconstrued what was said. Case in point. In fact, in my writing I used clear logic, research, and inferences based on that logic. There was no hate speech or anything derogatory- you yourself claim you own exotic animals and are biased. AND you left up the comment where this was stated, but took the scientific one down. NICE MOVE MELISSA.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Yes, I left up your first lengthy post to reply to you. I don't feel like addressing everything in that post or the others when you've already severely discredited yourself. Try condensing your multiple posts and I might feel more inclined to address them. There is no science in your replies. I'll provide some more examples:

"our morals are simply social hierarchies and systems, just like all other animals"

No they aren't. Our morals are actually 'understood', and require reason. An animal has an innate sense of how it is expected to behave within natural conditions. That does not mean that our natural roots have no say in our modern behavior (i.e patriarchy), but we can make alterations as we create the logic for doing so.

"chimps and gorrillas have used lexicon blocks to create new sentences that they were never exposed to by their trainers. dolphins have created new tricks..."

They still do not use language. They have experimentally learned to use crude aspects of a language -taught to them-, but do not use a language (limitless expression) in experimental conditions or naturally. You cannot be a language user by utilizing parts and not the whole. Such as a dog understanding to 'sit'. That is not real language use. Neither is constructing something to the effect of 'ball-bring-hoop'. That is a system with a finite expression capability. You should probably post the links of what you're referring to for a more in depth reading.


Gen 2 years ago

You're right, I have made several posts that you have deleted. And I have made several lengthy posts, but not any longer than your articles, that is for sure. People take the time to read your articles so you should take the time to read their responses. Honestly, I do not care if you delete, I prefer that you simply read them. I don't need an audience.

In response to your post, here are some articles that prove my comments. Do you have any?

http://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/patte...

Also, you say that I have discredited myself. How so? I have formal training in the fields that we are discussing- you don't. You use inaccurate facts to support your ideas and I am calling you out on them. For example, modern humans have been around for a lot longer the 50k years, fact I'm pulling from your article. Look at any anthropology textbook and you will see this.

As for the morals comment, you completely mistook and twisted my remark. Try reading closely next time. You claim that animals do not have morals. Well, what I am trying to say is that human beings within and between cultures also have various different morals and expectations for others. For example, infanticide, capital punishment, war, murder, some people eat cows, some don't, some eat pigs, some don't (kinda similar to the different cultures of the orcas whales). I don't need scientific proof for this, it is a well known fact that different cultures have different morals. Try reading a book.

As for the language piece that you are so hung up on. Language does not need to be written or spoken for it to qualify as language. Someone in an earlier post wrote of Helen Keller- she used sign language- similar to greater apes that I have posted about for your reading pleasure.

Here is an article on animal language http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20121016-is-langua...

You say there is a big difference between a dog learning how to sit with command and people understanding language. You are correct. No one is claiming that dogs are self-aware or that they have complex language systems. They don't. People are claiming that other complex animals, great apes, orcas, dolphins, elephants, have the ability to communicate complex thoughts. As for the whole idea that they are not smart because language has been "taught to them..." I ask you, how did you learn to read and write? Did you not attend school? Or did you teach yourself how to read...I don't think so. You have a very limited understanding of the nature of things, which is fine. No one knows everything, but please stop going around and posting your opinion pieces under "scientific and education" because they are anything but.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

I read everything Gen, that's how I decide if I'm posting it or not. Your link 'proves' nothing. It shows supporting evidence from a few people's interpretation of their anecdotes with one or two animals. That does not impress me. Considering the numerous apes in captivity I would like to see a larger sample size. It also has a well-known animal liberation philosopher's name attached to it. Obviously, I would expect extreme bias in this study, and their claim that language is not a definable concept is not validated or explained. Did you even READ your second link? It totally agrees with what I'm saying, even in the opening sub title!

"How so? I have formal training in the fields that we are discussing- you don't."

You should realize that this makes you look bad. When I back people into a corner with my arguments they sometimes flash their credentials at me as a last ditch effort for validation. You should never try to 'credential' yourself out of an argument. If you fail, it just means either the 'training' you received was ineffective or you just don't have the ability to apply your learning in the real world. Accusing me of being a hoarder or telling me to 'try reading a book' just makes you sound bitter.

"I ask you, how did you learn to read and write?"

Nice try, but I can use language without reading or writing. I learned my spoken language by absorbing what my parents and others say. It is completely impossible for an infant not to learn language when surrounded by language-users. If I take any infant animal and raise them, this does not occur.

"Primates really struggle. If you try to help them, and you try to cooperatively communicate to them about the location of food, they're completely flummoxed. They don't understand."

"So, we were able to show that on the types of tasks you give a child, okay, not particularly on language, but on cognitive processing, on number tasks..."

" Though impressive for their own species, their intellectual talents are no greater than that of a human toddler. Our brain is, of course, capable of art, poetry, philosophy, mathematics, technology."

"Well, besides us, chimps and bonobos are the animal kingdom's top linguists, capable of learning sign language, but very slowly. And there are other tests where dogs perform much, much better than apes."

--your own link.

"For example, infanticide, capital punishment, war, murder, some people eat cows, some don't, some eat pigs, some don't (kinda similar to the different cultures of the orcas whales)."

You didn't address what I said either. Human morals are -understood-. They can be communicated about, challenged, and modified. This occurs because of language. It is more complex than innate empathy, fear of the repercussions of deviance in a hierarchy, and other natural mechanisms.

"Someone in an earlier post wrote of Helen Keller- she used sign language-"

Helen Keller's sign language use was no less sophisticated than our spoken language and is capable of limitless expression. The sign language use of the language-trained gorillas and bonobos IS much less sophisticated and NOT capable of limitless expression. It's that simple.


Gen 2 years ago

I just don't understand why you would support a theory like behavioral modernity when its root are racist in nature, indicating that only europeans 50kya were capable of art and language whereas previous modern humans in africa were incapable of this, which is not supported by the archaeological record and is a theory proposed by eurocentric racist thought. Furthermore, all of your posts are based on this theory particularly the piece about humans being "unique" but what the theory is really saying is that only white european humans are unique. It doesn't make sense why you would support and use this theory in any of your arguments.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Gen, I'm going to have to ask just what the hell you are talking about?


Gen 2 years ago

Okay,I will do my best to explain- in several of your articles and posts you claim that one of the main reasons why humans are superior to animals is because of their use of language, and their cognitive abilities that relate to language. (I believe you would agree with that).

THEN, I saw in one of your posts where you tried to use scientific data that you said modern humans have been here since 50kya or "at least 40kya" or something similar to that. You said that dolphins brains have not changed for millions of years, whereas human brains have changed within the above stated time period (50kya).

(This is not true. Modern humans have been around for 200ky. The idea that we are "newer" that there was a cultural revolution 50kya or the "great leap forward" as you called it, is a racist belief system couched in scientific language to make people think its legit...It's all in the article- you will see if you read it. 50kya is when modern humans migrated to europe- so it is an argument that our ancestors in Africa were not intelligent, but only the "european blend" are intelligent)

Both of these two statements are the exact theory called behavioral modernity (easy and pretty accurate lookup at wikipedia). Behavioral Modernity, as a theory, also says that this is why humans are unique, which is another cornerstone of all of your articles.

Basically, I don't know if you realize this is or, but your beliefs about human capabilities and culture as well as your beliefs about animal intelligence and capabilities = Behavioral modernity theory.

Now, I am asking you to read that article about behavioral modernity theory (the premise or foundation of all of your arguments), so that way you can see the illogical, unscientific, and racist implications inherent in behavioral modernity theory...which is the basis for your arguments (whether you realize this or nor I am not sure). ...

Sorry, kinda written all over the place- make sense?


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

@ Gen

"Whatever the case may be for the dolphin's unique characteristics, I often see people misunderstanding evolution, believing it means that animals are constantly 'advancing' (I call it the 'X-men theory', this movie/comic book perpetuates the same mindset). No they aren't, they are adapting to their environments. Cetaceans have held the same level of intelligence for millions of years. Human modernization as we know it occurred a mere 50,000 years ago."

Amazing how you read a bunch of information in this sentence that simply isn't there. The fact is, the first sentence here pretty much shows I do not believe in the idea of any animal being 'more evolved' than another. I wrote that human modernization occurred 50,000 years ago, not 'intelligent humans emerged 50kya'. Nowhere did I state that Homo sapiens came to be 50,000 years ago. Both humans new and old were intelligent. Were I to time travel 200,000 years ago and steal a human from this time period, I would raise it to be just as intelligent as humans today. This is not the case with any dolphin, gorilla, or elephant. Case closed.


Gen 2 years ago

No- that is not the only piece that's relevant to BM. Your obsession with language as what makes human unique, your timelines, and well general lack of respect towards other living things. If you can comprehend what you read, you would see that BM is the Foundation of your arguments, i.e the school of thought from which all of your other thoughts are being found, i.e discourse (do you know what that means? look it up).

you want to continue to use a racist ideology... that's on you.

BUT Maybe next time you should stop regurgitating what some old white asshole friend of yours tells you and do a little homework for yourself. Unless of course, you don't mind spreading racism all over the internet?


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Boy did I waste my time responding to you or what? Never again.


Gen 2 years ago

The feeling is mutual. Now remove all of my posts from your page, please.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Nuh uh.


from Spain 2 years ago

I just found this article and I tried to read all the comments. Melissa, I understand you don't like orcas, no need, but honestly, I think you should do a bit more research on animal cultures and open your mind a little bit.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Maybe you think my mind isn't open because I don't agree with your feelings.


Tim 2 years ago

I really like this article Ms. Smith :-). But I don't think you should base your prejudice against orcas because of the appraisal of other beings, lol. Give them a chance :-). I agree with maybe everything you've claimed in this article, but I still love Orcas. I think they're very intelligent, have a high level on self-consciousness and self-awareness, very comparable to the human. I've done some research on Tilikum, and find him to be very interesting. It is belief, that he was very well aware of his importance to the Sea World organization. I think after his first kill, he realized that he could commit a vicious crime and get away with it because of what he was worth. I think he understood that humans were incapable of breathing under water, hence dragging them down to the bottom of the pool. I also believe that he took pride in these kills, how else would you explain his flaunting around the pool with a body on his back for everyone to see it? I believe they think, similar to humans, which is what makes them extremely dangerous, and they understand that we think similar to them, which could possibly explain why in the wild they stay the hell away from us! lol. And on top of that, they're LARGE!!!! But thank you for the post!! I enjoyed it!! :-)


from Spain 2 years ago

It's not because I don't agree with you, as I told you "you don't like orcas, no need". I don't like mosquitoes, but that doesn't make me wanna eradicate them from the planet. But from all your replies, seems that you don't accept any comments against your point of view. You are trying to convince that they are evil!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

By 'accepting' them I have to agree with them, right?


from Spain 2 years ago

No Melissa, by "accepting" you (taken from the Oxford dictionary) "tolerate or submit to (something unpleasant or undesired)", agree: "have the same opinion about something". For you it is unpleaseant and I accept that. But don't say "The REAL reason..." This is YOUR opinion. From all your points I can accept that you don't like them, but I don't think all of that makes them evil, is nature, just like lions and other predators. Only that orcas maybe are more evolved than other predators. Evil (for me and is only MY opinion) are humans as a species. Individually, is another story.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Don't quote me a definition of 'accepting'. It has varied meanings. I can debate the comments as I see fit.


Dave 2 years ago

Genevieve, your entire premise is flawed if you automatically assume that we hold it that everyone has ‘natural rights’, such as a right to life. Not everyone believes this to be an objective fact; it’s just a fact that we’d get along together better if we decided that human beings shouldn’t be killed without a good reason. This interpretation of natural rights could depend on whether you’re religious or not. Asking whether or not Melissa has done anything to stop genocide, murder, rape, and theft is an absolute non-sequitur. What if she has? Even if she hasn’t she still considers all of those things to be morally aberrant acts. Your snide comment doesn’t add anything to debate and shows how demented your sense of reason is.

On your point about the killing of baby whales… The difference between humans and killer whales is that humans can actually grasp the moral implications of killing another being that’s just as intelligent as they are. Orcas just see the baby whales as an easy target for food. Humans have the capacity to judge their actions right or wrong while whales don’t pursue this debate, which is why infanticide is considered morally wrong even in cultures that developed isolated from the West.

Funny you should bring up how African slaves were made to work, in institutes in Hawaii; captive dolphins have the ability to go out into the sea on their own without leashes or any binding devices to roam on their own. They don’t travel too far and regularly return to their pens when their trainers come back with dinner. Why do dolphins do this? It’s because they value security and comfort more than some flimsy concept of liberty.

No, dolphins do not have the “ability” to be cruel; they naturally are ‘cruel’. Bottlenose dolphins regularly kill calves in order to make the mothers sexually receptive again. This is observed in other species such as lions where the head of the pride will kill every cub that isn’t his to make the females go into estrus. This isn’t an ‘ability’, it’s a standard practice in the animal kingdom.

Do killer whales and dolphins fulfill some necessary niche in the food chain? The killer whales you mentioned that eat fish are residents who exclusively eat Chinook salmon. Already the number of killer whales in the region is dwindling because they don’t have enough to eat and are resistant to eating other forms of salmon or fish. Who are the culprits in this case? Obviously the humans in BC and Washington State who fish commercially and recreationally for Chinook salmon, competing with killer whales. In other areas of the world, fisherman will regularly kill killer whales and other dolphins species because they eat too much of the fish stock. This shows that these animals no longer necessary for sustainability.

And honestly how disgusting do you have to be to bring a person’s skin colour/race into the debate to make a point? Melissa wasn’t born into the Antebellum period or the subject of a slave raid into Africa. Comparing the way we treated blacks to the way we treat animals shows how callous you are considering the effort Melissa has made to point out that animals aren’t equivalent to humans. Olaudah Equiano would agree that you’re just doing it to get a rise out of Melissa.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thank you Dave, if you thought that was bad, you should see some of the comments of hers that I deleted: "Please delete all of my posts, I don't want to be associated with this type of racist content. Thanks"

This isn't the first time someone has brought up race after viewing my little avatar (the last time involved the indoor-outdoor cat debate, believe it or not, comparing indoor cats to keeping humans as slaves and my pet keeping as a mental predisposition due to my 'heritage'). Perhaps I should replace it with the pic of my dog again, lol.


Tom Green 2 years ago

Your logic fault:

Humans have an inherent desire to glamorize dolphins

I often hear the claim,

A."dolphins are definitely smarter than humans".

B."Dolphins are smarter than some people".

C. "Dolphins are too smart for captivity".

A and B are rarely claimed.

C. The right to imprison others is based in the intelligence of the oppressor, not in the emotional awareness and sense of self/family of the oppressed.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

So says you Tom Green, I beg to differ.


Julianna 2 years ago

Melissa,

I've been reading your articles for some time and they are quite conflicting.

I just mean that it seems as if you are an 'animal' person, yet you write articles (for want of a better word) 'hating' on certain species.

Why is that? What did dolphins/whales do to piss you off? Oh yeah, they don't have the same moral code as you, I forgot. Well, here's a list of animals and insects you can base your next articles on:

Ants (you like insects right? Well I think it's time that you started hating ants) did you know ants enslave their own kind?! They also kill each other without cause.

Lions (well you already think domestic cats are evil, so this shouldn't be too much of a leap for you) male lions sometimes kill their own offspring just to mate!

Birds (well the cuckoo birth specifically) this bird abandons it's children in another birds best after it knocks out the other eggs. Abondonment AND murder.

Chimpanzees (our closest relative. I'm honestly surprised you haven't tackled this one yet. Or maybe you have and I've failed to notice) chimps also kill their young and other chimps for no reason.

I think I've made my point. Animals do not share our moral compass. Does that mean we can't admire them for the beautiful, intelligent and amazing creatures that they are? I think not.

I'll leave you to the above list. You've for a lot of work to do. Good luck trying to make people hate ants.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Julianna you've completely missed the point. I'm aware of all those facts, which have been simplified by you. You don't understand animals or what I'm saying. And ants do not 'enslave' their own kind, how silly.


Julianna 2 years ago

How exactly have I missed your point? I'm sorry but I'd have to say I do understand animals, at least more that you do. My point was that I don't put keep animals to my moral compass, which clearly cannot be said about you. Sorry my mistake, ants don't enslave their fellow ants they enslave other insects. They use them like we use cows. Look it up.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Julianna, the point is that -animals do not have morals-. Ants don't have a choice in their actions. It is an evolutionary evolved instinct. They don't know what 'morals' are. Do their actions even result in any suffering? Probably not.


Julianna 2 years ago

That's exactly my point. Is it a stretch to compare dolphins to ants though? Why do you hold dolphins more 'responsible' in their actions, when no matter how 'intelligent' we think they are they can't and never will share our ideas or ethical views. Like ants, they do what instinct tells them, whatever the reason. Not just for food, survival, etc. but for reasons we as humans can not understand or relate to obviously.


Danielle Elizabeth 2 years ago

So you're against the right of orcas and such on the basis that you don't believe that they are moral? That seems like a pretty sad thing. I don't believe that orcas or dolphins have the same or higher intelligences than we do. But that doesn't mean that they aren't smart, they have been documented to be self-aware. Not to mention the harms that captivity cause (especially in orcas) has been very documented: both mental and physical issues. Like the fact that they only live 20-30 years in captivity and yet they live close to 100 years in the wild. Or the fact that mothers and calves are regularly separated where in the wild they would be together all their lives. Or that they spend their lives in these tiny cages when they have been shown to swim hundreds and hundreds of miles everyday in the wild. When it gets down to it, caging these creatures solely for our own enjoyment is cruel. It doesn't matter if they're moral or have human-like intelligence. If we are so moral as humans then we should not be taking part in this activity.

Oh and orcas don't have to kill porpoises and other things for food, no. But humans don't have to eat veal (an incredibly cruel practice) and yet we still do.


Switish 2 years ago

I just watched a documentary by the BBC with Atteburough about coastlines and sea life. It showed some seals and their pups (who were practicing to swim on the shoreline) when an adult Killer whale propelled itself onto the shore and grabbed one of the pups. But it didn't eat or even kill it there.... It dragged it out to deep water (the pup can't swim) and played a game with its pack (I don't know what you call a bunch of whales together) where they taunted and chased it for half an hour, but even after the pup had died it didn't stop.... Oh no... What they did next astounded me.... They literally propelled its corpse over 2 meters into the air with their tails..... More than once.... They didn't even eat it! I swear I just sat at me seat for 5 minutes just staring at the screen in confusion after the programmer finished...... I mean that's not even hunting for food, sure maybe the chasing was teaching their young how to hunt but what the hell was the purpose of propelling it into the air?

Now I don't harbor any hate towards them or dolphins, but this idolizing thing needs to stop because what people are ignoring are the facts that they are actually incredibly similar to is in ways we don't like. So this article has a point...On a side note I don't agree with them being locked up.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Hi Switish, nature documentaries are the pits aren't they?


Danielle 2 years ago

Switish, they actually do eat the seal after they're through 'playing' with it. I've seen the clip you're talking about and there are three or four different documentaries with the footage in it. So you can't be sure which one has shown only pieces. And they do actually release a seal later on the beach.

Which isn't to say I don't agree with you. I do. I don't think we should idolize these animals but I do think we should respect them as befits another living creature with high-intelligence.


Frank 2 years ago

People who think dolphins are evil are WRONG! So Im here to tell you some stuff about dolphins. Are dolphins meat eaters or plants? ( meat but they don't eat people though) What's the largest dolphin? ( orca ) what's the smallest dolphin? ( Hector's ) why do dolphins swim with pods? ( so If one gets sick or being attack by sharks then they will help if they can ) Dolphins can save people from shark attacks so you should like dolphins and that's not all dolphins are 2nd smartest animal in the world. So here are some facts about dolphins so I think dolphins are cool!


Marco 2 years ago

You are a very ignorant and pathetic person, I really feel sorry for you...


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

No Marco, you feel sorry for yourself because you have no words of substance to defend your emotional reaction to my words yet have a futile desire to bring me down.


Wensleydale 2 years ago

One of the things that my animal behavior professor liked to impress on us was that we never see many cetaceans. They can be very hard to observe or study because they are nearly always in a place that is hard to observe (eg underwater, offshore, in the Arctic/Antarctic, etc). We barely know anything most cetaceans, killer whales included, so I think that saying that they never show aggression to each other is rather premature.

Love your articles, keep it up.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Wensleydale! That's pretty much what I said about people who claim killer whales would never attack people.


Ummm 2 years ago

Aren't we idiots? All humans are, and the OP personifies it. Don't mess with the food chain, don't mess with the Eco-system, don't mess with Earth. Rules to live. The OP has way too much time on their hands and if the worst thing in your life is the idea that fellow humans give too much credit to orcas and dolphins, then u gotta go meet some people.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

"Aren't we idiots?"

It's just that type of self-hating nonsense that would qualify a person for the label of 'idiot'. Your comment makes no sense.


Warhead77777 2 years ago

One of the things I think we could work on is proving if all of these creatures behave like this or some of them do. If some of them kill each other and eat babies, we could lump them in with us. We could say they are as cruel as us, but without the mercy on other fronts. At the same time, if this was very common behavior then we could say that most male dolphins are rapists and so on.

The biggest issue seems to be in figuring out if some dolphins are evil or if most are evil. Some humans eat babies and others would die for strangers, are all dolphins the worse we could be or do they simply lack our best features. In other words, if there is no good dolphins are most of them gray or dark black hearted?

I think dolphins are like little children that grew up playing CoD from six and watching violent cartoons, they kill things because they are to stupid to know better. These creatures are smart enough to kill, rape, and murder...but I don't think all of them will ever figure out it's a bad idea. I f***ing hate drakes, they pull the same sh**.

I think it's dumb that one person told you to kill yourself just because you don't like these creatures. I also think it's a stupid that one of the commenters have no idea about the dolphin cult. I understood that animal cultures are a sign of intelligence, but I can't understand why that one person could grasp the idea that they are nothing to ours.

Another thing I hate about the comments is that people think it's stupid that you spent a few hours LEARNING SOMETHING and then TELLING US ABOUT IT. How is that a stupid thing? You are learning and we are learning? That's like saying the school system is stupid and scientists are stupid!


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Warhead


Jess 2 years ago

Interesting read. I am not a seaworld fan and I am anti-captivity for cetaceans... but I agree that the "omg dolphins are so amazing and pure" stuff is BS.

Dogs and cats kill/torture other animals unnecessarily. But I still care about the well-being of dogs and cats. The same goes for orcas. It doesn't matter if some of them are "murderers". They're too smart for a small tank. They are used to family units, not being split up. Their lives are worse in captivity and that's all there is to it.


steve 2 years ago

the video about the orcas killing the dolphin but 'playin' with it before is just like what cheetahs do the catch live prey to train their young ones to hunt. they probably wounded it so that it wasn't able to hurt the small one.

i really don't think you are right because first orcas don't unerstand us (i agree) but we don't understand them, they can communicate detailed thoughts just by using a specific frequency something we can only interpret by some high pitched sound. orcas brain mass to body mass is bigger than humans so they ARE more inteligent than us, the reason they don't have super computers (yet) because they don't have hands and they can't really make things but they do have very smart and cunning ways to hunt . anyway i see where you're coming from but at some point you just have to accept that even though we have stepped on the moon and dominated the world we are not the wisest or most inteligent animal we just have HANDs withought tose we would be exactly where monkeys are its all im saying man...


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Steve-- and when orcas kill things for non-food purposes and there aren't babies around, what's the excuse for that?

"orcas brain mass to body mass is bigger than humans so they ARE more inteligent than us"

Completely and utterly incorrect. According to such invalid logic, a tree shew is more intelligent than both humans and cetaceans. Before you assert some factoid you know little about, actually look it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain-to-body_mass_ra...


Anonymous 2 years ago

A friend once explained to me that dolphins, (bottle-nose dolphins) are evil. I actually agree with him, but I do not fully agree with you'll all of the topics in this article. He said that one reason they are evil is because they think that when we fall out of boats, it's a game. They think that saving us is just a game. Like they want us to fall out of our boats into the water. They also take down sharks. Couldn't they start pecking our boats, or even us to lead us to our deaths by pecking us. With orcas, you must keep an open mind. Yes they kill, maybe even for fun. But you have to remember there is no document of them ever killing a human being. None. I am huge on killer whales. I don't always love the way they act and I wish I could change it. But I can't. Because they are animals. We will never be able to make Mosquitoes drink something else. Just like we will never be able to stop orcas and dolphins from being vicious killers. I would say yes your article is correct about so many things but you also forgot the about how God made them to be this way. They can't change it. Neither can we.


NicoleT427 2 years ago

Holy crap, you sound like an idiot and you are very rude in your comments to several of the readers for no reason. You literally disgusted me over my morning coffee. Maybe you should build a shed out in the wilderness and live with your beloved mosquitoes. Finding random videos of Dolphins attacking other marine life does not mean that they should be kept in small tanks and forced to perform for people. Live and let live, intelligent or not, forcing animals to perform for their food and keeping them in small confined spaces for their entire lives is evil. And guess what, I can find ten's of thousands of videos of humans attacking other humans or less intelligent creatures. What does that prove? That we should not be protected by laws? That we should be kept in cages? That we are no better than the mammals you are harshly judging in this shitty "article." You are absurd. I don't think the average intelligent person sees dolphins as God like creatures, we just recognize that the ones held in captivity for entertainment are being forced to live short, painful, mind numbing, horrible lives and it should be stopped.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

I was pretty gracious to the commenters Nicole, unless they attacked me first. Calling me 'rude' just shows you are not having an accurate perception of reality. This article is about the erroneous claims of 'pacifistic intelligence' in cetaceans, not captivity. Not that I even believe pacifism is a sign of intelligence. I think all of those notions are silly. I also see little evidence that cetaceans are drastically more sophisticated than canines, which I'm sure you are OK with the exploitation of.


NicoleT427 2 years ago

Actually it doesn't prove anything my dear. I'm trying to find out what makes you an expert on these topics. Most of your "articles" are basically your opinion with a few facts or pictures you found on google images. I read hundreds of your comments and you sound very childish with people that disagree with you.

And you say your article is about claims of pacifistic intelligence that you disagree with, but you use your opinion (in this piece and others) to say that what PETA and other organizations are doing to help with the issues of captivity is ridiculous. And your articles actually make it sound more like you want to demonize them rather than prove they are not pacifistic.

Plus, all the demonizing you do about these mammals hunting for other reasons than to eat is crazy! It is true that they kill other species and sometimes even their own but these cases are rarely witnessed compared to normal behavior, JUST LIKE IN THE HUMAN WORLD! People hunt animals just to mount them on the wall, they enjoy killing things and they sometimes even torture other animals or people before killing them. Hell, I just saw a disturbing video of 2 teenage girls trying to light their pet tortoise on fire, then when it didn't work, they repeatedly smashed it on the ground until it died.... they didn't eat it. That is extreme, but if you want to prove something about your opinion on dolphin's, you can't claim that their less intelligent or that they are evil because some of them do these sad and awful things. That argument points to a result that all humans are evil and unintelligent as well because some humans act in the same nature as dolphins.

Last, dolphins, orcas and porpoises do have languages. They have self awareness ,which is a sign of higher intelligence, putting them at the very top along with humans, apes and elephants.

And, I am not ok with the exploitation of any living creature.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

I don't recall mentioning PETA. Listen "dear", I don't see any comments where I was rude to someone unprovoked. That was made up in your head because you disagree with me. That horrific turtle video was condemned and the perpetrators are being punished for it. I wonder how often killer whales instruct their kin to not kill or torture other animals for non-food purposes? The point is that they are not 'pacifists'. There are many lies floating around that they are of some sophisticated 'intelligence' that keeps them from waring with each other, and other such nonsense. Cetaceans do not have languages. They possess communication abilities.

You are correct that (most of) these are my opinions, I don't see what the problem is with that.


Nicole Woelfel profile image

Nicole Woelfel 2 years ago

The problem is you present your case as if you have facts backing your opinions. You say things with definitive tone. And I am referring to several of your articles on this topic when I say you call out PETA and other animal rights groups..... I am gonna go ahead and make a list of your rude comments that I can find just in the next 5 minutes. If you want to portray yourself as an educated voice on this topic you should probably consider a little more maturity in your comments to people that disagree.... and I agree with one of the commentaries on your rant about how much you hated BlackFish. Your title is very poorly chosen and your writing style is not very professional at all, plus like I said earlier, you have very few facts backing up statements you make. Oh, and by the way, that is an example of you being rude, you were rude to him for giving you good, constructive criticism. I am not an amazing writer, but I am great at public speaking, I do it for a living and make a lot of money doing so.... I still get feedback from peers and audience members... feedback is a gift, you are lucky to get it.

-Your Tom Green comment was slightly rude

-Julienna from 5 months ago stated some respectful points but disagreed and you stated she didn't know what she was talking about.... because you are an expert how?

-Your conversation with "Spain" made you out to be the childish one.

-Imsummer - that commenter was not rude, but because she had a different point of view and made a point you weren't aware of, you got short with her and once again, came across as childish.

I found more on other articles of yours and I don't feel like sitting here all night, re-reading these uneducated argument of yours. I just hope people reading this stuff realize it is not based in fact or actual research... its based on some girl that has an exotic cat sitting on youtube and wiki all night.


Breck123 2 years ago

@Nicole Woelfel-I don't see how her comments were rude. I don't see how it's wrong to simply refute someone challenging your opinion. And it seemed like Julianna was provoking melissa. There is a difference between debating and being rude, and also, she has some good reasons for getting aggressive . It's people with this type of attitude that are threatening the exotic pet trade. Some people make quite ignorant comments( "DID YOU KNOW THAT YOUR BUDGIE WAS STUFFED IN A TUBE AND SMUGGLED FROM AFRICA??????????") Same thing goes for zoos. All these anthropomorphizing fools are making uneducated comments like this.


Nicole Woelfel profile image

Nicole Woelfel 2 years ago

She sounds childish and there is little truth or proof of anything she is saying! She is making uneducated blog posts! I am not talking about pet trade, I'm talking about her demonizing these mammals and supporting their captivity based on her personal dislike for them as a species! I take issue with people spewing incorrect information on the world wide web and then others read it and take it as gospel.


Breck123 2 years ago

I think you misunderstood the point of the article. She is not "demonizing the animals. You see, one tactic anti whale captivity people will use, is telling people that whales are just as intelligent or more intelligent then humans. And they say that because of this intelligence, they are peaceful, loving, and morally better than humans. This article serves to disprove that.


Nicole Woelfel profile image

Nicole Woelfel 2 years ago

It serves to disprove based on her opinion and a couple YouTube videos of whales killing other sea life? And yes, it does...the title calls them evil...her entire purpose is to demonize them. And I'm sorry, but I rarely hear people say they are smarter than humans. They are extremely intelligent, top 5 in most studies. The environment that most whales and dolphins are held captive in are extremely inhumane with zero similarities to their natural habitat. They are put on display for entertainment and given very little mental stimulation. Melissa's articles on dolphins are all based almost completely on her uneducated opinion. She thinks they are evil therefore they do not deserve protection or suitable living environments. Just because you have a parrot or snake doesn't make you an expert on exotic or wild animals. And just because you want a zebra doesn't mean you should be able to have one. Since humans are the most intelligent species of our planet we have a responsibility to protect our eco-system and environment... Just because a meerkat is cute doesn't mean you should trap one and keep it in your bedroom. Just because a whale is smart doesn't mean we take it from its pod, stick it in a bathtub and teach it tricks for its dinner.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

"So says you Tom Green, I beg to differ."

Rude? Uh, OK. I really don't see it.

"You don't understand animals or what I'm saying."

Sorry, that is what I believe. My point was not addressed at all and the person brought up examples of instinctual behavior that is not driven by any aware 'choice'. Therefore they did not understand animals or what I was saying.

"Maybe you think my mind isn't open because I don't agree with your feelings"

Nicole I have gone to great lengths to reply uninsultingly to comments like that and yet you still think they are rude? Why? I'm starting to believe that what's going on with you might be similar to what's going on with 'from Spain'. That is, you are threatened by what I'm saying, and your time would be better spent PROVING that I am wrong about my stated facts instead of accusing me of being uneducated. No you are seeing why I get 'short' with people. No one is putting their money where their mouth is, or actually SHOWING me why I'm dead wrong with irrefutable evidence. But I hear a lot of blabber about how wrong I am. It gets annoying. And this is my blog, I get to rant and rave if I feel like it. Who says I need to be professional?? It's my place to blow off steam and even better if people who are trying to take away my pets get pissed off.

"its based on some girl that has an exotic cat sitting on youtube and wiki all night."

He's not a cat! And I have amassed a nice collection of zoological literature. For whatever isn't covered there, there is Google Scholar.

Thanks Breck, at least someone gets it.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

No Nicole I am not calling them evil...that title was just to get your attention. If I thought they were 'evil', that would make them 'human like'. Only humans can be 'evil' because they can actually -understand- this concept of morality. This article is NOT taking a serious approach to the subject, parts of it are just joshingly making a point. I have a right to dislike cetaceans as do many people have an extremely dislike for animals that I love like centipedes and mosquitoes. It causes me great distress to see my equivalent of 'cute dolphins' being treated like garbage. I DO want people to stop applying human motivation on dolphins when it is convenient for them. An example, the fact that orcas do not kill humans in the wild is attributed to their 'kindness'. When killer whales do things that appear screwed up to us, they turn a blind eye or make excuses for it. Fact is, I have been witnessing that many people favor cetaceans because they perceive them to be 'special' in the ways I describe, and that contributes to people objecting to their captivity. This even occurs with renowned scientists. They all have bias when they conduct their research.

"And I'm sorry, but I rarely hear people say they are smarter than humans."

Really? That's all I seem to see. You probably aren't looking in the right places.


Anon 2 years ago

Your article fails to explain why humans are better than orca, as humans do much of the same. How can we even begin to judge these animals if we are waging wars, killing children, and slaughtering innocent people.

Also, the fact that some (maybe a few, maybe many) orca do this doesn't mean that all do - if they're just as intellectually advanced as us, doesn't that mean there'll be many personalities? That's only to be expected. For all we know, there are hundreds of thousands of orca out there, all with different personalities.

Furthermore,

"It causes me great distress to see my equivalent of 'cute dolphins' being treated like garbage."

I don't know what you mean by garbage, but if you mean them being killed or swatted; your equivalent of a cute dolphin is a mosquito, which does not feel emotion or pain. If you mean that they're not liked, well, that's just people's opinions and you shouldn't take it too seriously.

And yes, most people observe orca from the safety of a sea vessel, be it a ship or a boat. But by far not all, and there has been lots of human interaction in the water with these animals. People have swum with these animals (take Ingrid Visser), rescued them from lifelines, kayaked alongside them, and never been attacked.

You come off more as a butt-hurt person to me. 'People dislike my favourite animal and thus I will dislike their favourite animal.'

The rest of your arguments come down to, 'because some orca show 'evil' behaviour, as humans do, it is okay to treat them all like shit'. (Like putting them in tanks and making them jump out of the water twenty times a day.) Well then. That's like saying, because Osama Bin Laden killed thousands of people in 2001, it's okay for me to run down the street capturing people and holding them captive in bathtubs for the rest of their lives.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Anon: I don't think I was trying to argue who is better here, just that they aren't the pacifistic angels they are made out to be. They are animals, they can't really be responsible for having the 'correct' human morality. But of course, humans never hesitate to say they are better than us. No I do not believe they are as 'advanced as us', because if they were, THEN I could judge them. The point of this article is just to show the hypocrisy in how these people think. Since so many people keep bringing up Ingrid Visser as not being attacked, I'm taking it that she is one of the few people that do this, and from my knowledge, only swims with fish eating orcas.


Jeremy Cook 2 years ago

Ah yes. And don't forget about those war-mongering, cannibalistic hominids we call our closest relatives, the chimps.

I find it interesting that everything that we hold to be reprehensible in human nature, we find in the animal kingdom. Everything we find to be truly noble and redeeming, is really found only (I would argue) in human beings.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Right Jeremy, that's why we call people who commit a heinous act 'animals'. Then for some reason, people love to look at isolated (or modified by humans) cases of animals behaving strangely and say 'we need to learn from the animals' or something stupid like that. Relentlessly.


Alex 2 years ago

Yet another article where we push our human behavior and morality unto animals. Cetaceans are very intelligent yet they are so different in all aspects from us (culture, ecosystem, behavior, physiology, psychology, language, etc) that we can't even expect to understand their "purpose" for acting the way they do. Sure we can extrapolate and make certain educated guesses as to the "why" - taking into context the tiny snippets of scientific data we actually have, but from there to actually put a label of "good" and "evil" unto them is utterly nonsensical. Maybe Orcas think we're evil because we're so nice to each-other!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Alex, tell that to people who judge the cetaceans positively, calling their perceived peacefulness and behavior out in human terms and praising them. What you say goes for anyone. Maybe narcissistic serial killers think we're evil for being so ordinary and rule abiding.


Mike Carey 2 years ago

I briefly tried to look this up before asking. I could not find anything. What exactly are your credentials in terms of biology, ecology, animal behavior, etc?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Hey Mike, you should worry less about that and more about the veracity of what I'm saying.


Mike Carey 2 years ago

I'm not too sure about that veracity you speak of. The problem is that your arguments are full of contradictions. I'm mostly referring to the notion that cetaceans have no morals yet you imply that they are evil because they kill other creatures for enjoyment without remorse and kill whale calves while not caring about the emotional pain they enflict on the mother. This suggests that they have a moral compass, albeit that it is pointed south. It also suggests that they have a great deal of awareness of their actions and choices. I actually don't subscribe to the idea that cetaceans have morals. I also give little weight to the concept of morals and ethics as attributed to humans. For the most part, if not entirely, our sense of right and wrong is learned. Mind you, I do not want to shift this to a spiritual discussion. But has it occurred to you that these morals are a means of instinctual self preservation. Killing each other can be considered to be counterintuitive to our survival. That is a very loaded concept, especially considering that, relatively speaking, we very recently had very different opinions of what is right and wrong in regard to human rights. If morality is an inherent quality that only humans possess then why do different cultures existing today have such different morals? Perhaps it is because these are simply taught and not inherent. I digress.

I find it interesting that you refer to people who think that dolphins are "smarter" than humans and become defensive, if not offensive, when someone suggests otherwise as if many people actually believe this. I don't know any of these people and I believe that they represent an extremely small percentage of the population. This all seems like a lot of trouble for a small fraction of people. Regardless, for you to dignify that type of belief with an intelligent discussion is futile.

My objection to all of this is ultimately the means by which you support your arguments. You use select scientific references to support your opinions while, in fact, your argument is the exact opposite of science. You have an established opinion and you look for evidence that supports it. Science basically "asks" a question and uses facts to objectively find an answer. This is why I inquired about your scientific credentials. Keep in mind, a couple of animal science classes does not constitute a credential. As a scientist I become annoyed when people misuse science. I honestly do not mean to offend. I am asking that you use scientific evidence only if you intend provide a scientific discussion.

A couple clarifications: predators prey on young because they are easier to hunt and may very well become exhausted if they attempt to kill a larger and faster prey, such as an adult whale. This happens throughout nature. It is virually common knowledge. It is not because it is cruel. If you feel better by sympathizing with the mother whale to demonstrate the evil motivations of killer whales, think about this. Wouldn't it be much worse if they killed the mother, in which case the calf would become abandoned and almost certainly die as a result? In addition, they do not eat just a few delectable organs and leave the rest for the scavengers. The killer whales themselves scavenge on the carcass over the course of several days after the kill. You should have followed through on that bit of information. A picture of a sinking whale sans "lips" is merely propaganda. Again....not science.

Lastly, help me understand why you constantly anthropomorphize whale behavior when you criticize others for doing the same.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Mike Carey-- I think the problem here is that you are taking this article too seriously :) Obviously an article where I rant about how much I love mosquitoes is not exactly what I would call 'scientific'. I was posing the logic 'if this is true, then this is true' here, although I can see how it might be confusing. Part of the reason that might be so is because when I wrote this I hadn't completely decided what MY beliefs on the subject were, but now I can more confidently state I do not believe any non-humans have 'morals'.

I wrote this to rant against people who glamorize dolphins and other non-humans. People only pay attention to the 'good' (i.e., things we culturally approve of and friendliness to humans), but with animals there is no 'good', or bad. People often praise animals for the most asinine things--animals not 'destroying their environment' or being cruel to other animals, ect. Not only is admiring animals for not doing these things dumb, but it's not even entirely true, as I've shown here. The killer whales do torture other animals unnecessarily. This is something I believe they are not aware of, and cannot be aware of. That is the introspective and progressive ability of a human.

Many of the things people HATE about humanity are present to a tee in animals. They do not alter gender roles. They can be cluelessly cruel to other species. They are selfish.

Only humans have decided there is something wrong with this and only humans are self hating and pointing to other species that epitomize what they hate as flawlessly innocent.

" For the most part, if not entirely, our sense of right and wrong is learned."

Of course! And all of our morality has a strong foundation in survival instincts. But it certainly doesn't END there, that is just its starting point. Whatever the morality rules might be, it is true that for all human species we have a conscious awareness of these rules and even more surprisingly, we can alter them, or they can vary by culture. Many social animals have an idea of fairness, but can they actually think about this? Their absence of language alone is enough to prevent them from taking conscious morality to the human level. They are stuck at their level of 'morality' that will only improve their fitness while many forms of human morality is contrary to evolutionary principals. That is because we are the only species with a will beyond the instincts we've evolved to improve fitness.

"This is why I inquired about your scientific credentials."

I have a bachelors in biology but that shouldn't matter. Not once did animal morality or anything else like this pop up in the curriculum.

"Science basically "asks" a question and uses facts to objectively find an answer. "

The question I ask is complex. What is going on in the mind of an animal? It's almost impossible to know the answer. But most, if not all of my advanced understanding of 'right and wrong' stems form language, which animals do not have when it is defined by 'limitless expression'. That's what makes them 'animals'.

Here is my riddle: If a dog could talk, what would it say to us? Answer: If it could talk, it wouldn't BE a dog.

"predators prey on young because they are easier to hunt and may very well become exhausted if they attempt to kill a larger and faster prey, such as an adult whale"

This article states that intelligent mammal predation is a 'cultural' choice. Transient orcas do not touch fish, or any other animal. Although residents have been documented killing porpoises and eating none of it. I got the information that only the whale's lip was consumed by a documentary. If my information is wrong it's because they told a half-truth.

"I don't know any of these people and I believe that they represent an extremely small percentage of the population."

This is actually complex. Many people SAY that they think animals/dolphins are smarter than humans, but I believe very few actually believe this in their heart (or they wouldn't be eating them, or treating them inferiorly in any way). Honestly, you've never heard this rhetoric?

"Why can't we learn to be more like them" (in the comment section of an animal being friends with another species)

"Human are dumber than animals because we are destroying ourselves"

"I prefer animals to humans because animals are unconditionally loving"

Ect.? It's that mentality I'm criticizing. I can start a poll on any of my articles asking the question, who is more moral? And put a dolphin and human as the two choices. I would bet money that dolphin will win by at least 60% of the votes.


Stephan Casey 2 years ago

So we've established that Orcas can do things that we consider inhumane. Many people now think that capturing Orcas and keeping them in captivity is an inhumane thing for us to do. So now you've made a good point about how we should not idealize these animals as better than us. I agree with you but what is your standpoint on what we should do. If we agree that the whales are not more superior than us (at least from a cultural point of view) then we cannot use their actions as a defense for our own actions.

How are we striving to be any better as humans by saying look at the "orcas that spend a good 2-6 hours trying to separate a baby calf that the mother grey whale has carried." Okay, now so what? We shouldn't try and make sure that Orcas are treated better based on how they treat other animals.

You also stated that these animals do a lot of these things for fun and enjoyment. Okay. Now my question is. Do you agree with that from your own moral point of view? If not then how can you use it as an excuse to do the same thing when it morally contradicts your own beliefs?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

I'm not using their behavior as an excuse, I'm just applying the screwed up logic that people have toward animals. I have no problem with using animals as long as their welfare is taken into consideration. I think we're already treating them far better than how they treat other cetaceans. No one intended for their well being to be jeopardized. Due to welfare concerns, wild captures have ceased. However captivity candidates can exist, such as rouge animals and those unfit for release. The aquariums still have a place.


Stephan Casey 2 years ago

I just want to add that I didn't mean my comments as an attack on you. I'm just saying, yes, I agree that people are over-glorifying these "majestic creatures" but the fact that people don't think that they should be held in captive is a separate issue and if you think it is inhumane then the fact that the creatures themselves aren't perfect not really that relevant here. Unless, of course you argue that they should not be in the ocean at all for the well-being of other animals which I doubt can really be argued.

So to summarize my point. People are emotionally over-glorifying the Orcas which makes them more willing to care what happens to them. Is this a bad thing. Maybe things do need to change and maybe us humans (as the superior beings that we are striving to be) should be the ones to make that change.


Stephan Casey 2 years ago

Sorry. I wrote that reply before I saw your reply. Fair enough. Yes aquariums have a place from the point of view of when animals can't be in the wild. Which includes any Orcas currently bred in captivity but we're talking about the greater issue of keeping them because we want to (you know. Similarly to the whole they play with their food because they want to analogy) as opposed to putting them in aquariums for their own good


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Yes I do think it's a bad thing when people don't understand animals and humanize them. The book 'Killing Keiko' can shed some light on that. People can care about them while not misunderstanding the situation.


Stephan Casey 2 years ago

Alright. Agreed that it is not good for people to misunderstand their situation but what is the situation here really (in your opinion)?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

The situation is that orcas are like any other animal and we can explore our options to improve the list of issues, and they don't have to involve idealistic goals of releasing them, which can even be more harmful than beneficial. They are also not 'more important' than other animals.


2 years ago

I find myself a little confused at your article if I'm honest. I also agree that many people tend to glorify dolphins and give them an almost saint-hood status. However, that does not stop me from appreciating and respecting orcas. You mentioned that people tend to adore them as peaceful, benevolent animals when they are doing 'nice' things but when they are "pleasure killing" they are just acting according to instinct. I do agree to some extent with that observation but I really think the bottom line is- orcas are animals. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise when they behave like one. In addition, I find it rather strange how you are arguing that people anthropomorphize orcas and paint them into these sentient, benevolent creatures when you are doing the same by projecting human values/morals on them such as murdering and being "evil". I don't think enough is known about the reasons for these actions to automatically assume that it is done purely for pleasure and that they are indeed 'evil'. I don't presume to know the reasons behind these seemingly aggressive acts so I don't you should either by claiming that "not only do orcas kill, but they enjoy the hell out of it".

Furthermore, I get the feeling that you scorn at the idea of different orca 'cultures' and different diets between ecotypes. Residents and transients are actually genetically different and have not bred together for hundreds of years. They may even in the future be classified a different species. Therefore, your comment that "orca whales do not need to eat seals or cetaceans." and instead have a choice seems a little irrelevant. Transient orcas have clearly adapted to eat these animals and have not decided to hunt these animals just to inflict pain on other creatures. You are right when you say that dolphins and orcas do no have the same moral code that we do so I don't understand when people condemn orcas as cold, ruthless, murderers- that is likening them to humans and presuming that they have the same values that we do.

I am strongly against orca captivity but I do understand that release into the wild in not viable for every orca and that some are more suitable candidates than others. However, I don't think that having the goal of release for some orcas is too idealistic. What makes you think so? Why would it be more harmful than beneficial?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Because you seem to understand them, Z. This article is an attack on people who glamorize dolphins in ridiculous ways, which you don't seem to do.

"but I really think the bottom line is- orcas are animals."

Exactly. Most people don't seem to think this. They seem to believe that they have morals and are superior to us because they 'don't kill humans in the wild'. It is due to this anthropocentric view that they fail to see the violence brought out against non-humans.

"Residents and transients are actually genetically different and have not bred together for hundreds of years. They may even in the future be classified a different species. Therefore, your comment that "orca whales do not need to eat seals or cetaceans." and instead have a choice seems a little irrelevant."

You are half right. I do dismiss the idea of this being an example of orca 'culture'. It is speciation. This still doesn't mean they need to eat what they're eating, but what it DOES mean is that this is expected animal behavior. There is no conscious decision to do what they do. This means that their failure to have killed a human so far in the wild is also not some moral decision.

I believe a small number of captive orcas stand a chance of successful release, but I always advocate improving captive conditions as the ideal choice for long term residents. Please refer: http://hubpages.com/animals/seaworld-criticism-wro...


creepkiller37 2 years ago

And this is why i think human life is expendable.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

creepkiller37, Does that include yours? Your parents? Your friends? Significant other? Current or future children?


A.E. 23 months ago

Hi. I just wanted to say good article, though I can't for the life of me get why people would say that animals are smarter or do-gooders when they aren't. Besides, in many animal cases, the females seem to be raped when they're mating. Disgusting. However, I just want to point out that I read a comment earlier where you stated people should be allowed to own exotic pets. In certain cases this is okay, but there are so many cases of primates having a tendency to attack, as exotic pets retain their wild nature. I, for one, wouldn't really consider keeping them. It's not as simple as wanting something just for the sake of it, but looking at the facts and the consequences. I personally don't consider wild animals pets, I also dislike keeping birds in a cage. I know you can keep them healthy and safe, but they're meant to fly. I suppose we can argue about a whole range of pet/animal/exotic issues, but seeing how we are on the animals instincts channel, might as well add that about exotic pets. Thanks


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 23 months ago from New York Author

Hello A.E., that's just the thing. Dolphins don't really rape because that is a human concept. That form of a mating ritual is normal and natural to them. They do not have 'morals' like we do and their societies are unchangeable. Just another reason animals are different from humans.

I have written extensively on the subject of exotic pets. Wild animals come from the wild. Captive born animals are not wild animals. I don't feel there are any significant differences between exotic and so-called domesticated animals in captivity. Please see my other articles. Thanks.


Animal Man 22 months ago

Before anything mentioned in the article, the folly of viewing animal behaviors through a human morality lens is undermined by presumption that any animal morality would even be applicably comparable to human morality - nevermind the far cry that is a 1:1 comparison.

Regardless, I find that most people who make the sorts of poorly formulated remarks as this article addresses to not respond well to logic in general. With that in mind, perhaps the whole "evil" slant resonates with the more pathos inclined.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 22 months ago from New York Author

Animal Man, you have to read the entire article, and it sounds like English might not be your first language, so you might have missed something.


Awesomebluefire 20 months ago

Interesting opinion piece. Misleading title though. Might just be me but using words such as evil imply morality existing where it doesn't. Personal opinion is that such animals should not be kept in captivity because it is such a pain to create a ideal environment for them as opposed to say dogs which only really require food, decent bedding and walks to be comfortable.That is subjective mostly and partially because I would rather see them jumping off the bow of a ship instead of in a big ole fish tank.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 20 months ago from New York Author

The title is only partially misleading. I want it to be found by people looking for pages on that 'evil' claim, although I don't feel that term can be applied to any animal. Plus, I've somewhat reversed my opinion since writing this, or refined it. I couldn't determine if dolphins should be seen as malicious since scientists claim they have high awareness of what they're doing, but now I've settled that dolphins are indeed still animals and cannot be judged differently from other animals. This article just states what dolphins should be considered if someone opts to perceive them as humans. Most importantly, animals shouldn't be seen as 'moral' when there are just as many, if not more examples of them doing something we consider 'evil' than 'good'. That is just selective memory bias.


Gerardo 20 months ago

Hi Melissa,

Your post is brilliant at one level and a big let-down at the other.

On the one hand you are spot on about human arrogance and willingness to turn a blind eye to unconfortable facts.

At the same time, you miss the thing that proves that orcas are really like us: it seems that because of their intelligence and culture, some of them engage in horrible, cruel acts. But humans sometimes do monstruous things too. Does this mean humans and orcas are "evil" by nature? I would be inclined to say no because there are humans who don't do horrible things, and perhaps not all orcas engage in cruel acts.

Even if they did, however, prove to be generally cruel animals, we have a moral obligation to be better than them and respect the fact that they are highly sensitive beings (even if they themselves sometimes fail to respect that quality in other species).

Thanks a lot for your insights!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 20 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Gerardo, my article is basically saying either you believe orcas/dolphins are like humans, which would make them just as evil as us, or you don't. And while humans have plenty of evils, we also have a huge amount of situations where we help animals that I'm sure exceeds all dolphins.


Joe Keck 20 months ago

They humanize apes and cetaceans because they have the idea that these creatures are pre-evoleved from our species. 'Apes look like us and we used to be whales.'

Truth is, anything that will vitiate the concept of a morally immovable and immutable God must be held onto with a white-knuckled grip.

Good article, mostly very well done. I enjoyed it very much.

By the way, there is compelling evidence that dogs are more intelligent that apes, and I believe the same is probably true regarding cetaceans. It is absolutely mind-blowing what some dogs have demonstrated in clinical studies.

But they don't look like us.

However, fear not! When dogs are proven more cognitively advanced than all other animals, they'll say we "evolved" from them as well some millions of years ago.

Keep up the good work, Mellissa.


nathalia27 profile image

nathalia27 19 months ago

I don't have much knowledge on cetaceans. All I know is that they can be friendly too if they know that you are not threat to them. I'm glad that you give me more knowledge about them. Thanks!


helenstuart profile image

helenstuart 17 months ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

Wow, you have a ton of comments. You did help me think differently, so thanks for that. Nature is brutal and bloody and cruel and beautiful. So don't just pick on cetaceans, because they have been worshipped by the hippy dippys. The pendulum may swing back the other way. It's all bad, but it's all good.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 17 months ago from New York Author

Thank you helen!


Corey 16 months ago

I can't agree more with you Melissa. People blame humans for acting immoral when we can also fix the unethical things, and yet, when dolphins kill for fun or no reason at all, they always have an excuse that it's 'just nature'. It's not just stereotyping humans, this happens with other 'bad' animals, when they naturally need to kill, are independent or gentle creature such as sharks, canines, felines, arthropods, etc. Great hub!


helenstuart profile image

helenstuart 15 months ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

It's all part of the mystery we should keep trying to understand. Humans are animals, after all, aren't we? YES. So there is definitely something magical sewn into some part of us, is it our spirit? That is appalled, sometimes unto death, when we witness inhumane cruelty, or butchery, or acts of savagery from one human to another, a human to an animal, or an animal to another animal, while the animal looks on as if "eh, that's life." But this isn't true of the mother defending her young, in many cases, although the female Tiger knows that she must eat first even at the expense of some of her kittens starving. There is no martyrdom there, If the mother said, "No, no, you children eat first, I'll get along." Then soon the whole family would die because the mother could not produce milk or have enough strength to defend the den. This is still a miraculous life. Can you imagine living life undersea? I'm not speaking as a scholar or a philosopher, just some person who likes swimming pools because of an innate terror of that which brushes past my leg. Your post has really got people thinking. I read creepkillers comment and just laughed and laughed. It is the wide held opinion of so many people (scientists) that if you took humans off the planet there would be no damage to it, in fact it would start healing, but if you took some vague little spider off , it would all start falling to hell. It's a very trendy way to talk and think, so creepkiller, you are actually one of those , what do you call them, oh yeah, hipsters. I am so tired of the anti human movement. Its all BS. Its fantastic that we have something in us that animals don't have. It's magic. It's part angel. And look at your most loved pet. It's rubbing off on him or her. Even if it does bring you a dead mouse.


Anonymous 11 months ago

Incredible article. I share many(if not all) of the same views that you hold on the subject - I've always just been unable to articulate them quite so well!


darkcould 10 months ago

There is one known example of orca and human cooperation to kill gray whales, known as Killers in Eden. In Eden, Australia, orcas figured that humans can kill adult whales, pray that is near impossible for orcas to kill. So, they would herd whale toward shore and 1 or 2 orcas would alert human whalers on shore. Later they would guide boats to gray whale and as reward would get to eat lips and tongue. This went on for many years.

Point is, humans and orcas are top predators and top predators can and will eat what they want, in long run it improves skills and evolutionary survival. Evolution is cruel, life is cruel, survival is cruel in its many forms. Learning new things improves evolutionary survival chances even if it means killing intelligent life forms and also the more different foods species lives on drastically improves survival chances as a species...


Paleosaver 9 months ago

I was thrilled to read this. I was afraid this level of common sense had gone from the world. Apparently it has not. Keep up the good work. Thinking of this caliber is far too rare. In fact thinking of any kind is far too rare these days, most people just use their emotions to get through life without nary a logical reason for anything. Knee jerk 24/7.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 9 months ago from New York Author

Thanks!


anonymous 8 months ago

I can't believe you, Melissa! First, you don't want anyone who reads this hub to judge you badly. Next, you claim that you're a horrible, selfish, and arrogant person. What's up with you?!


Luis 5 weeks ago

It's a mammals thing. We love, we eat, we have fun, and we kill. Humans can explain and try to justify their actions. Other mammals cannot. We can all try to "understand" but reality is that Orcas are not "good" or "bad", they are just another species that if in confrontation with us, they will not win.


anonymous 3 weeks ago

You're hypocritical yourself, Luis. Honestly, you claim that orcas are neither good nor but claim that they won't win. You make me ashamed to be human! I'd rather have killer whales and dolphins win against humans.

As for that mammal thing, mammals are my least group of animals. My least favorite ones are humans. Therefore, I favor reptiles over every other animal.

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