## Friday, 8 November 2013

### What would happen if dolphins were treated as people?

In an exciting turn of events, this post has been inspired by @UberFacts! I couldn't have predicted this happening a couple of hours ago, but here we are. This tweet popped up on my timeline earlier, and I think you'll agree that I couldn't have ignored it if I tried:
Dolphins could become part of our actual society, much like the Elves and Dwarves of Middle-Earth! Imagine a world where we walk/swim hand-in-fin with our streamlined peers, chatting and chirruping away with enormous grins stretched across our faces. We'll have such a jolly time! I am literally so excited by this that I wrote a list of how things would change if dolphins got given non-human rights.*

*Having researched the topic thoroughly (on Reddit) I think that only one or two scientists have ever suggested this, but let's roll with it.

Our education system will change forever
Well, now that dolphins are our non-human equals, everyone needs to know more about them. Dolphin studies will be integrated into every school subject; there will be a GCSE History module called 'Dolphin attitudes to gender politics in the nineteenth century', and A-level Maths will include a compulsory term dedicated to Dolphin Algebra, based on the famous theorem of the great dolphin mathematician Senicicicicascreeee ($\surd \!\,$fish=plankton!/carp). You will even be able to specialise in the language of dolphins to degree level, and courses will require you to spend your third year in a dolphin community. You'll probably end up having a dolphin pen-pal at some point during your school life.

Politics will look slightly different
Assuming that dolphin suffrage is granted, politicians will be desperate to gain the dolphin vote. This means that their campaigns will start to look especially fishy. "A fair wage for dolphin performers!" they'll cry, "Yes we flipping can!" So much attention will be bestowed upon our marine friends that humans may start to feel a bit left out when campaigning starts. Don't worry though, because it will turn out that the dolphin vote won't count for much, because they'll be busy raising up their own candidates. The first dolphin candidate to stand for UK election will be a member of the Green Party, and will take part in a five-party televised debate, where she will charm the population with her wit, charisma and level-headed suggestions.

Merpeople
I wasn't sure whether to touch upon this subject, since at the moment it would be considered bestiality, but it seems perfectly possible that if humans and dolphins were given equal rights, breeding between the species would occur. I mean, in Harry Potter, Hagrid was half-human, half-giant, and that was perfectly acceptable (ish). Well, we have people marrying the Berlin Wall and whatnot now, why not dolphins? Let's not think about this too much, except to consider that this would probably lead to another exciting new species - merpeople.
We'd have hot crustacean bands playing all over the world.

Humans could be given non-dolphin rights
Maybe dolphins would return the favour and give us rights under their laws! What if we've got it all backwards, and they're considering giving us rights? What if we get their rights before we give them theirs? What will we do? What laws will we follow? If we don't hurry up, we'll be introduced into their society and we'll have to give up our politics and education and everything and do everything under their regime!

But it might not be so bad. To quote Douglas Adams, "...on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst 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 reasons.”

Images: The Telegraph, floridamemory.com, dvdverdict.com, learnnc.org, localguiding.com