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Spanish parliament approves 'human rights' for apes

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Bright-Green/2008/0627/spain-to-grant-some-human-rights-to-apes

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1824206,00.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/26/humanrights.animalwelfare


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 outside our 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.



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