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
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.