Thursday, July 17, 2008

Great Apes Receive Human Rights

The NY Times reported that the environment committee of the Spanish Parliament approved the extension of certain human rights to great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans). Should the bill pass it would become illegal for Spanish citizens to kill apes, except in self-defense. Torture and imprisonment would also be forbidden, although the 300 or so apes in Spanish zoos would not be freed. Religious beliefs that place humans above all animals have caused some, such as the country’s Catholic bishops, to protest the vote. Scientists who use chimpanzees in medical studies are also disturbed by the committee’s decision. Anthropologists recognize that great apes can greatly contribute to our understanding of human evolution, and their continued protection is vital to the discipline.

BBC Story