The civil rights watchdog website HazteOir.org reported this week that Spain’s Socialist Party and the Green Party of Catalonia have grated orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas and other apes the “inalienable right” of “companions of humanity.”
The Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Fishing of the Spanish Congress approved a proposal that would press the Zapatero administration to support the Great Ape project in order to guarantee apes the right to life, liberty and the right not to be tortured. The final text of the proposal was drafted by Green party and Socialist lawmakers, with the more conservative Popular Party not participating.
Congress is pressing the Spanish government to declare its support for the Great Ape Project within the next four months as well as to promote it in the rest of the EU countries. The Great Ape Project aims “to preserve and protect from abuse and death these genetic companions of humanity.”
According to HazteOir.org, the four purposes of the project include the prohibiting of experimentation and research on apes that harms them and is of no benefit, the establishing of strict conditions for their captivity, the prohibiting of captivity for commercial or entertainment purposes and the establishing of serious penalties for cases of commerce, illegal captivity or abuse of apes.
Raquel Arias, a spokeswoman for the Popular Party, said she was embarrassed that Congress would “try to make apes legally equal to humans” while people everywhere are suffering from an economic crisis.
She said the project is an attempt grant apes the moral and legal protection that only human beings currently enjoy.”
Joan Herrera of the Catalonia Green Party said apes “are beings capable of knowing themselves and have wide and complex cognitive capacities.”