Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Spanish parliament to extend rights to apes


Spanish parliament to extend rights to apes
Wed Jun 25, 2008

By Martin Roberts

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's parliament voiced its support on Wednesday for the rights of great apes to life and freedom in what will apparently be the first time any national legislature has called for such rights for non-humans.

Parliament's environmental committee approved resolutions urging Spain to comply with the Great Apes Project, devised by scientists and philosophers who say our closest genetic relatives deserve rights hitherto limited to humans.

"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," said Pedro Pozas, Spanish director of the Great Apes Project.



Anonymous said...

"A moral being is one who is capable of comparing his past and future actions and motives, -- of approving of some and disapproving of others; and the fact that man is the one being who with certainty can be thus designated makes the greatest of all distinctions between him and the lower animals". --Charles Darwin

Thus, giving legal rights to animals makes little sense to me.

animalearthhuman said...

I suspect that Anonymous has other reasons for not wanting to allow non humans rights and I don't think it is this Darwin statement which makes little sense as a reason not to acknowledge the rights of a being not to be exploited and killed. If Darwin/Anonymous is saying only moral animals should be allowed rights then what do we do when we look at the history of human and animal behavior and find multiple examples of non human behaviors that by human standards would be considered to be compassionate and moral while we would find a bottomless pit of examples of human depravity. I'm very interested to know what Anonymous' authentic reasons are for not wanting animals to have rights.

Jeremy Beckham said...

So 'anonymous', why then, precisely, do I have obligations not to harm or exploit humans who, for reasons of disability or development, lack the capability "of comparing his [sic] past and future actions and motives, -- of approving of some and disapproving of others"? (For example, young children and the disabled)

Our legal system and traditional ethics recognizes that to be a moral patient one does not have to be a moral agent. This is why we do not criminally indict toddlers - yet they still have full and equal protection under the law. But when we start talking about nonhuman animals - we become desperate to change the rules of the game we set up for ourselves.

The line we draw based on species classification is one based on an arbitrary biological classification - not a moral one based on any sound ethical principles.

Anonymous said...

It just does not make much sense from a legal point of view.

What if an ape, through his voluntary acts, demonstrates that he cannot live within the law established by society? May he then be imprisoned after a fair trial represented by counsel?

Would legal guardians be entitled to sue Spain for past imprisonment and torture of apes? What restitution is Spain going to provide in view of their past wrongful acts?

What legal rights do unborn apes have? Would it be legal to perform an abortion on a Gorilla? In Spain, it is legal to perform abortions in humans.

Anonymous said...

i dont think anyone expects other species, if granted rights, to live within society's laws. some legal aspects regarding legal guardians and such, if needed, need to begin to be addressed though instead of constantly ignored. no one is granting apes the right to vote, but to ignore the idea that other species should be able to live a life without fear of spending it locked in a barren cage and pumped with drugs every day is simply wrong.