United States Small Cetacean Rehabilitation Policy: Driving forces behind a socially motivated policy
Within the Untied States the policy reflects the importance society as a whole places on an issue. Cetaceans hold a special status in American society as a cultural icon due to their intelligence, social interaction, and extensive ability to communicate. Cetacean rehabilitation policy exemplifies the construction of a socially driven policy. The rehabilitation of cetaceans is a high cost endeavor with a low success rate, but is still a formal component of marine mammal protection. The structure of the stranding and rehabilitation network illustrates the socially motivated nature of rehabilitation policy. In an examination of major newspapers over the last five years in the U.S., three major themes driving the development of cetacean rehabilitation policy emerge. Responsibility/moral obligation, emotional connection between humans and cetaceans, and anthropomorphizing of cetaceans all play an essential role in the construction of cetacean rehabilitation policy. Understanding the social function that cetacean rehabilitation policy plays within U.S. society is crucial to tailoring it in order to adequately meet the needs of the public and society. It is essential to describe and legitimize rehabilitation policy for its inherent worth within the social and political framework of the United States.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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