I’m back baby… and the Spanish want to give Chimps human rights

Apologies for the monster gap in posts. It’s been an epic couple of months of lost internet connections, holidays and crazy research work (more on that to come later). Anyway, to kick things off…

Great apes should have human rights, say Spanish MPs

By Richard Alleyne, Daily Telegraph

BST 26/06/2008

Great apes should be given the human rights to life and freedom, Spanish MPs have said.

Members of parliament’s environmental committee urged the government to comply with the “Great Apes Project”, backed by scientists and philosophers who argue man’s closest genetic relatives deserve such accords.

Spain is famous for bull-fighting and has been criticised by campaigners for myriad cases of cruelty to animals.

“This is a historic day in the struggle for animal rights and in defence of our evolutionary comrades, which will doubtless go down in the history of humanity,” said Pedro Pozas, Spanish director of the Great Apes Project.

The MPs’ call has cross-party support and is expected to become law.

The government is now committed to update the statute book within a year to outlaw harmful experiments on apes in Spain.

“We have no knowledge of great apes being used in experiments in Spain, but there is currently no law preventing that from happening,” Mr Pozas said.

Keeping apes for circuses, television commercials or filming will become a criminal offence.

Keeping an estimated 315 apes in Spanish zoos will not be illegal, but supporters of the bill say conditions will need to improve drastically in 70 per cent of establishments to comply with the new law.

Philosophers Peter Singer and Paola Cavalieri founded the Great Ape Project in 1993, arguing that “non-human hominids” like chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans should enjoy the right to life, freedom and not to be tortured.

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2 Responses to “I’m back baby… and the Spanish want to give Chimps human rights”


  1. 1 Jesús Sanchis July 4, 2008 at 9:16 am

    This new law is a bit contradictory in a country like Spain, where the rights of animals are not much respected in general (bullfighting, hunting, atrocious traditions of all kinds, etc.). It looks like one of these innovative, modern laws that appear from time to time in a country like Spain, which is a rather unexpected place for this kind of things. Let’s remember that Spain was one of the first countries to allow gay marriage. But at the same time, Spain is probably the only country in Western Europe where smoking is still allowed in public places like bars, pubs or restaurants. It’s difficult to understand why these paradoxical things happen. And it’s not clear why international organizations like the EU don’t take action in the field of ape-rights protection of health issues. Why should these laws be different depending on the country?

    This is my first comment in this blog, which I find quite interesting. Now that I’m on holidays (in Mediterranean Spain!) I’ll have more time to read previous posts.

  2. 2 Jesús Sanchis July 4, 2008 at 9:17 am

    This new law is a bit contradictory in a country like Spain, where the rights of animals are not much respected in general (bullfighting, hunting, atrocious traditions of all kinds, etc.). It looks like one of these ultra-modern laws that appear from time to time in an unexpected place, e.g. a country like Spain. Let’s remember that Spain was one of the first countries to allow gay marriage. But at the same time, Spain is probably the only country in Western Europe where smoking is still allowed in public places like bars, pubs or restaurants. It’s difficult to know why these paradoxical things happen. And it’s not clear why international organizations like the EU don’t take action in the field of ape-rights protection of health issues. Why should these laws be different depending on the country?

    I post a comment in this blog for the first time. Now that I’m on holidays I’ll have time to read more of the posts in this blog, which I find interesting.


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