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The slow but steady animal rights revolution, from 'Planet of the Apes' to slaughter-free meat

[New York Daily News - opinion]

So obsessed are we with the microscopic machinations of Washington politics and popular culture, we frequently fail to take note of slow, seismic changes taking place all around us. Mesmerized by a tiny, spinning top, we don't feel the continent itself slowly shifting beneath our feet.

One such quiet revolution we should stop and acknowledge: A new respect for animal rights is decisively emerging, far beyond the PETA fringe. Within 20 or 30 years, enabled by new technology, we will be living in a profoundly different world.

Some cage-free canaries in the coal mine:

In theaters now is the first blockbuster about animals that has not a single living animal in it. That, of course, is "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." And though it's an action movie, not a morality play, the technology and the story do get a point across: It is time we started questioning the value of keeping chimpanzees in captivity, even if for supposedly vital research. It's roughly the same message conveyed by the documentary "Project Nim," about a 1970s psychologist who raised a chimp as his own child as an experiment. (It didn't go well.)

The notion is no longer a political joke. There's a bill in Congress - a bipartisan one - to end invasive research on chimpanzees. And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, responding to a petition by the Jane Goodall Institute, the Humane Society and others, this week announced it would initiate a review of whether captive chimpanzees ought to be designated as "endangered," as wild chimps already are. The very possible outcome: chimps could be prevented from being used in medical experiments or for entertainment. Some scientists are protesting, but most labs have moved beyond primate research; indeed, the United States and Gabon are the only two nations in the world that conduct medical research on chimps.

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full story:
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2011/09/02/2011-09-02_the_slow_but_steady_animal_rights_revolution_ from_planet_of_the_apes_to_slaughte.html

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