In earlier times, man was seen as a special creature - the image of
God and the lord of creation. Yet with the Spanish parliament debating
the rights of great apes as "persons", the traditional view of man and
animal could be about to definitively change.
"I am an ape" says Pedro Pozas, secretary-general in Spain of the
international Great Ape Project, which wants the United Nations to
grant gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutangs and bonobos something
comparable to human rights.
Humans and great apes are part of the same hominid family, champions
of ape rights say, stressing that the behaviour of apes resembles that
of humans more than had previously been recognized.
Spain's governing Socialist Party is promoting an initiative to
recognize great apes as different from other animals, to protect their
habitat and to prohibit their use in circuses. The measures would also
ban scientific experiments with great apes, something that has already
been practically abolished in Europe. Spain would thus become the
first European country to adopt measures such as those proposed by the
decade-old Great Ape Project, which seeks three basic rights for apes:
the rights to life, to liberty and to not being tortured. "The only
other country to have adopted comparable measures is New Zealand",
Pozas told Deutsche Presse-Agentur DPA in a telephone interview.
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