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Spanish islands extend "human rights" to apes

Great Ape Project
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/balearicapes200703/

2007-03-23

Beginning a movement that may propel Spain as a leader in animal welfare, the Balearic Parliament has recently announced its approval of a resolution to grant legal rights to great apes.

The Balearic Islands are located in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, and form one of the Autonomous Communities of Spain The Islands are one of the most popular holiday destinations in all of Europe Deputy Margalida Rosselló presented the Balearic Parliament with the resolution early last summer, requesting a declaration of support for the mission of the Great Ape Project, International - to legally grant great apes freedom from torture, mistreatment and unnecessary death. This resolution has also been presented to the Spanish Government and is expected to be considered this summer after being deferred due to unrelated political issues last year.

According the Pedro Pozas, Executive Director of Great Ape Project, Spain, "the decision of the Balearic Government to approve this Proposal, makes it a world-wide leader in the protection of the great apes and their habitat, as well as in the support of their rights."

Opponents cite concern over granting "human" rights to animals. However, supporters are quick to point out that the resolution approved by the Balearic Parliament and proposed to the Spanish Government does not seek to grant great apes the same rights available only to humans. The proposition simply recognizes basic legal protections supported by biological and scientific evidence that great apes, like human children, experience an emotional and intellectual conscience similar to that of human children. For years, the scientific community has widely recognized that great apes experience intense emotions such as fear, anxiety, happiness; can independently solve puzzles and create and use tools; recognize the past and plan for their future; and can learn to communicate in and unilaterally teach a different language to their children.

By declaring its support of fundamental rights for great apes, the Balearic Parliament has taken scientific evidence to the next level by establishing a legal recognition that these creatures are conscious, self-aware beings that should not be tortured, abused and neglected. The efforts by the Balearic Parliament to stop the oppression of intelligent and self-aware beings who cannot speak for themselves is an important step in the political arena of animal rights.

For more information on this topic, visit www.greatapeproject.org or www.proyectogransimio.org

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