Human Rights For Apes
July 19th, 2008 BY Craig Baird
In the next few weeks, Spain will be approving a bill that could
literally change the world. Ranking up there with bills to outlaw slavery,
legalize gay marriage and more, this bill is revolutionary in its concept.
Essentially, the bill will give human rights to apes, making Spain the first
country on Earth to do this.
This means that human rights would be
extended to chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and gorillas. This would
then give apes the three basic human rights of life, liberty and freedom
from physical and psychological torture. In Spain, it will become illegal to
kill an ape, use them in television or movies, have them in the circus or
allow them to be used for medical experiments.
Like gay marriage, this
has been a red flag of controversy for many. There are people out there who
feel that apes are just animals, and therefore humans have the right to hold
dominion over them as their superiors. Many critics of the bill feel that
this entire initiative, which was created by the Great Ape Project, will
blur the lines between humans and animals.
This is troublesome,
because in 2008 you would think that we would be more progressive. We now
know that humans and apes share 98 percent of the genetic material between
them. They are essentially our cousins, yet we still think of humans as
separate from the animal kingdom. We are not higher than the animals, we are
just a highly-evolved animal. If it was not for our big brains, we would
have gone extinct a long time ago. What else do we have going for us? No
claws, wings, armor, camouflage, speed or big teeth!
Spain should be
commended for taking the measure to show that apes are like us, and to
acknowledge the intelligence you see when you look into their eyes.
Hopefully this will just be the first of many countries to implement this
bill, and maybe down the road we could see the United Nations extended human
rights to apes around the world.
We do not have the right to dominate
the animals of the Earth. We do not have a right to make them do our bidding
and work for us. Some animals evolve highly complex strategies to survive in
the wild, and that is what humans did, through our brains. However, our
brains do not give us the right to kill whatever we see fit, and remove
anything we find to be a nuisance. We can land on the moon, send probes
solar system, live in any environment on Earth and probe the secrets of
the universe, but for whatever reason we can�t figure out how to treat our
fellow creatures properly.