Friday, June 09, 2006

Drive for Ape rights in Spain marches on.

EU: Who knew ape rights would be a hot topic in Spain? Hell, in any country for that matter.

Spain could soon become the first country in the world to give chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and other great apes some of the fundamental rights granted to human beings under a law being proposed by members of the ruling Socialist coalition. The law would eliminate the concept of "ownership" for great apes, instead placing them under the "moral guardianship" of the state, much as is the case for children in care, the severely handicapped and those in comas, said the MP behind the project, Francisco Garrido. Great apes held in Spanish zoos would be moved to state-built sanctuaries, unless there was a risk that moving them would harm their emotional welfare, he said. The law would also make it a criminal offence to mistreat or kill a great ape, except in cases of self-defence or medical euthanasia. As a first step, Mr Garrido, a Green MP for Seville who sits with the Socialists, will propose a resolution on the rights of great apes before the parliament's environment committee at the end of this month. He said he expects the committee to approve the resolution which already has received the public support of ministers. Mr Garrido said he was confident that either the government, or the ruling Socialist majority, would introduce a Great Apes Law after the summer recess.
This is what happens when you get Socialists and Greens in power, really stupid stuff like this. Of course this gathering movement are making people unhappy as they point out glaring inconsistencies.
The Roman Catholic Church has expressed concerns about his resolution. The Archbishop of Pamplona and Tudela, Fernando Sebastian, has said that only a "ridiculous or distorted society" could propose such a law. "We don't give rights to some people - such as unborn children, human embryos, and we are going to give them to apes," the archbishop said.
Of course not, the unborn is a choice not to be given rights and embryos are to be used for experiments unlike like the apes. But do these rights extend to unborn apes and embryos? That is the question.
Amnesty International's Spanish branch has also expressed concerns, saying that humans have yet to see their rights fully guaranteed. A senior member of the Spanish opposition Partido Popular, Arturo Esteban, called the proposal an "act of moral poverty". The proposal has been front page news since parliament heard testimony from members of the Great Ape Project (GAP), a Seattle-based pressure group which campaigns for the creation of a "community of equals" in which humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans would all enjoy three fundamental rights: the right to life, to freedom, and to protection from torture. Their "declaration" calls for great apes to be kept locked up only when they are a threat to the community, and then only with a right of appeal to the courts, with representation by a lawyer. Mr Garrido's parliamentary resolution would explicitly endorse the approach of the Great Apes Project, and would call on the state to use its voting membership of international forums and organisations to protect great apes from "mistreatment, slavery, death and extinction". Pedro Pozas, the secretary general of the Spanish branch of the GAP, said that animals reared in captivity might remain in zoos, even after the law's passage, "provided that they are kept in good conditions, with a habitat adapted to their conditions and needs." Mr Pozas criticised the trade and exchange of apes between zoos and breeding centres. "To move a baby ape is to split up a family. They have feelings, they can feel sad, and they have the capacity for love. If a zoo has no room for new births, it would be better to sterilise the females."
Wait, why forced sterilise the females? What not give males a snip snip and leave the females alone? Does the female get her day in court with a lawyer? Since they would be in the states custody, why not pay to expand the living quarters and make sure everyone is happy and feeling good? It sounds cruel to say they have feelings and the capacity for love and sadness then sterilise them because they don't have the ability to get a job.

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