Tags: spain | apes | rights

Spain Gives Rights to Apes

Thursday, 26 Jun 2008 01:12 PM

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Spain’s parliament on Wednesday voiced its support for the rights of great apes to life and freedom, Reuters reports.

Spain adopted this new policy at the behest of the "Great Apes Project," a plan developed, in part, by Peter Singer and other philosophers and scientists who say the animals deserve the same rights as their closest genetic relatives.

Australian-born Singer, dubbed the “godfather” of animal rights, has stirred up controversy by asserting, among other things, that Christianity is a “problem” for the animal rights movement.

A professor of bioethics at Princeton University's Center for Human Values, Singer attacks "speciesism," which he defines as the belief that being a member of a certain species "makes you superior to any other being that is not a member of that species." He has also stated that a "severely disabled" infant may be killed up to 28 days after its birth if the parents deem the baby's life is not worth living.

Spain’s environmental committee of parliament approved the resolution with cross-party support. If the resolution becomes law, it will mean that potential experiments on apes will be banned within a year. In addition, apes used for commercial purposes, filming or circuses would also become illegal.

"This is a historic day in the struggle for animal rights and in defense of our evolutionary comrades, which will doubtless go down in the history of humanity," Pedro Pozas, Spanish director of the Great Apes Project, tells Reuters.

"We have no knowledge of great apes being used in experiments in Spain, but there is currently no law preventing that from happening," Pozas notes.

Apes in Spanish zoos, of which there are currently 315, will remain legal, according to the legislation, but living conditions reportedly will improve substantially.

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