back to article Spain plans 'human rights' for great apes

Spain yesterday laid the groundwork for legislation which would grant great apes the right to life and freedom, Reuters reports. The Spanish parliament's environmental committee approved resolutions that the country comply with the Great Apes Project, which "seeks to end the unconscionable treatment of our nearest living …

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Chimps vs bulls

> Yes, we know what you're thinking: how long will it be before Zapatero's Socialist government grows cojones big enough to tackle the touchy subject of bullfighting?

Surely "how long before they grant chimpanzees the right to train as mataderos"?

Chimps & gorillas up against bulls - think of the ratings!

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Bootnote

Obviously if the apes are granted legal "person" status, they will be entitled to work as matadors too.

;D

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Donkeys

I'm more inclined to wonder how long before donkeys have the right to not be thrown off the top of a tower, at least I'm pretty sure thats what happens in Spain, or somewhere.

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Coat

What on earth are they thinking?

This is utterly bizarre... by all means prohibit unconsionable behaviour - such as keeping for adverts, films, and circuses - but *don't* give rights under law.

Animals *don't* have rights until they can express those rights themselves. There's no reason why one should not criminalise certain behaviours regarding the treatment and abuse of animals - but that's done because you don't want the person doing it to be part of your society, not because the animal in question has mythical 'rights' that need protecting. Hell, I'm not even sure about *human* rights... but I'd far rather see some action on some of the more egregious human abuses than this drivel.

To any Great Apes reading: the secret is to keep banging the rocks together, guys...

Mine's the one with the asbestos lining...

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Wow, things must be perfect in Spain

"We have no knowledge of <insert activity here> in Spain, but there is currently no law preventing that from happening."

So they've clearly solved all Spain's existing problems and can now concentrate on fixing problems that don't exist yet. El Gordo must be pea-green with envy!

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@Fred re.Bootnote

That would require that they were citizens of Spain, or had a valid work permit.

This is going to be an administrative nightmare since non-human apes are notoriously bad at storing documents and taking care of them.

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They aren't that big

Zapatero's balls are only big when the issue requires no bravery, see his attitude on fighting people who actually might threaten him.

Since these great apes now have person status, I'm sure the Spanish taxpayers will look forward to them paying taxes and being tried for snatching bananas out of turn. Perhaps they could speak at PSOE rallies?

R

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Great news.

Does that also mean that technically theyre allowed to come over here and claim benefits?

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@Neil

"Animals *don't* have rights until they can express those rights themselves"

I am no Veggie hippy type, and im not sure if I agree with this law or not, so don't think Im going all "think of the animals" crap, but that statment falls down. What about babys? Do they have no righs?

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New Prospects

Maybe they'll get the right to run for office! :D But seriously, Isn't killing and torturing animals already illegal?! Seems like a rather redundant law.

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spain is different...:?

i think this is just a law to make headlines and divert the audience from the economic problems of the country.

Anyway i cannot but congratulate myself as a spaniard because this is to protect the rights of other countrymen that behave like countryapes.

and, DavidWebb, as far as i know there was a village in "deep Spain" (local saying), a place not even located in google maps, where they throw goats, but no donkeys. not even sure if this is already forbidden, or there was some turmoil when the police tried to stop this "traditional" folkloric custom.

and guys, as for the bullfighting, i wouldn't be too optimistic. no politician in spain has the guts to handle that kind of subject.

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Anonymous Coward

@Paul

What like the right to crap their own nappy? Or the right to vote?

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@Paul

Babies are at least protohumans - it can reasonably be expected that they will grow up able to enunciate their rights, on the whole. And for those unfortunates who can't, the majority of societies seem to feel it right that there is a duty of care.

I'm not at all convinced that that duty extends to other species.

One manages an animal species on the basis of enlightened self-interest, not because it has been given hypothetical rights.

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Coat

hmmm

some interesting ideas here..

personally from the country in europe with about the worst animal rights i think this is taking the piss. killing animals in barbaric ways is entertainment for these people. the fact that the pussies slash bulls' tendons so they cant run makes it even worse. ah well they all dress like julian clary anyway :)

"Animals *don't* have rights until they can express those rights themselves"

- interesting. you go to some far flung corner of the globe, can you express your rights to them? to them you will just sound like a babbling ape. plus we all know there are plenty of apes than can use sign language and communicate quite well in other ways. wheras there are plenty of people with learning difficulties who cannot. and plenty of plain stupid people who can be outwitted by a monkey (some beat real people in IQ tests)

its a conundrum innit?

its a good step but its like saying a murderer has just decided its not going to kill men, just keep killing women imho.

mines the one made out of a matador...

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@Paul

Peter Singer is a leading philosopher of ethics and was the originator of the 'animal rights' movement (see the 'Great Apes Project' linked in the article). He doesn't believe that babies have rights and argues that infanticide should be legal (which, if you grant the right to late-stage abortions, is hard to argue against logically). For this reason (inter alia) he finds it difficult to lecture in Germany and courses based on his textbook 'Practical Ethics' have been banned there.

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Coat

excellent foresight!

getting in the apes' good books, that is, because after the ape revolt we'll need to be well in with our new simian masters, or it's target practice and lobotomy experiments for rebellious humans.

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Happy

Better protection...

for your average hairy, pot-bellied, skinhead drunken Engurlander then. Oft seen on the 'Costa del Sol', complete with dragging knuckles and barely understandable gibberish.

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Dead Vulture

The slippery cojones on a trojan horse

Doesn't Gibraltar stop being British when the apes go?

It will be soooo hard now being a Brit animal rights activist holidaying in Spain. Do you go to the zoo or to the bullfight? Let your cojones make the decision!

[Birds have rights too.]

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First

First they gave the peasants rights, then they gave the women rights.

What next!?

This place is going to the dogs (and cats and all the other bloody animals)

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IT Angle

Ape Rights, chimps tea party.

So will pregnant apes be allowed to have abortions or do the unborn apes have a right to life and if they do have a right to life that's deemed to exceed the rights of the mother to abort, what happens in the event of a mother abandoning a baby ape? Does the mother ape get prosecuted? How would a jury of peers work? I'm not sure it makes sense to me.

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Linux

will they get to vote on lisbon?

.....or get a job at PC World???? Watch this space

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Alert

planet of the...

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

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I for one ...

welcome our new Great Ape overloads

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Rights versus Welfare

The terminology is a a problem. What is the difference between "protection" and "rights". Generally I tend to think of rights being the other part of responsibilities. If apes were to have human-type rights, then presumably logic has it that they have human-type responsibilities for things like lawful behaviour. That's clearly a nonsense - would we send a chimpanzee to court because it attacked another? perhaps great apes could then be considered to be in the same category as human beings unable to be responsible for their own actions and thereby need guardians to act upon their behalf. Something like the position of young children below the age of criminal responsbility, or those deemed to be insane or otherwise not responsible for their actions. However, surely that won't do - great apes are inherently like that. It's just in the nature of being a great ape. In the case of human beings, this state is something one either passes through in childhood or is an exception. It's not the normal state of mature human beings.

If this act was just designed to increase the level of protection and welfare standards for great apes then there surely wouldn't be a big issue. It's when the wholly inappropriate language of human society is appropriated for this sort of purpose.

If one was to look at the "true crimes" comitted against such creatures, if crimes are what they are, it's the gradual extermination of them through human encroachment and loss of habitat. Of course that is the really difficult problem, which a little bit of politically correct fiddling with protection legislation to call at "rights" will not change.

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Is Spain high?

Apes have the right to tea parties, the odd cigar and plenty of bananas and that's it. The more talented apes should also have the oppurtunity of a television/movie career.

Some people seem to be forgetting what animals really are - they are our food, our competitors and a source of basic resources. We allow those which are useful/harmless/nice to look at prosper and we kill everything else. They are not our equals, this is why instead of talking about animal rights we should talk about human responsibility. When we talk about inhumane treatment of animals, it's not the animal that isn't being treated enough like a human, it's the person dealing out the maltreatment who is failing to act enough like a human being.

Torturing a chimp does not mean that you are infringing it's rights, it means that you are behaving like a vicious little cunt and that's what needs to be legislated against.

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ian
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@Steve

"When we talk about inhumane treatment of animals, it's not the animal that isn't being treated enough like a human, it's the person dealing out the maltreatment who is failing to act enough like a human being."

Well said!

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Take your hands off me, you damn dirty ape!

This development is/was on my list of absolutely stupid things that are bound to happen eventually.

I give it 1 year before Harriet Harman unveils new laws giving apes 'equal' (ie preferential) rights in employment and pay...

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Coat

And thus..

...the degradation of human society continues...

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Alien

Just in line..

for when they get speech and start talking, like in Planet of the Apes.

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guys...

Don't worry, we're supposedly given the inalienable right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" However we can still execute people, jail them and torture them etc. Although you might have to incarcerate them in Gitmo first?

Why only the great apes? What quality or standard did they meet to get this distinction? I would totally love to be on TV, fed, warm bed, no job etc. What happens if one great ape, tortures another? If the ape signals that he wants to stay with the trainter (for TV shows,) can he stay? And wouldn't you have to steal the ape (involuntarily) from the wild to teach it sign language anyways? Or at least be trespassing?

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Tom
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@E_Nigma

They already have been running for office here in America.. for an example see one George W. Bush. I'm sure he likes bananas as well.

Think of all the monkey business with politics anyway... perfectly suited for Apes. Just look at this bill in Spain... nothing but monkey business!

I just cant wait till they liberate our cockroach comrades.. then the song 'La Cucaracha' can really have some bite to it.

!LONG LIVE THE COCKROACH!!!

*Mines the one where the sleeves button up behind my back.

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Stop

Spaniards are idiots since the Great Spanish Empire

and it is still going down...

... yeah, just think about it, no other country had the opportunity to become a world wide empire and these idiots just messed it up.

And now apes are humans too?

From now on ".es" TLD shall be ".gilipollas"

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Joke

With rights come responsibilities...

So presumably the apes will also have to obey Spanish laws. Or maybe there will be special ape-laws for them? Like always clearing up after their tea parties and not leaving banana skins lying around that politicians can slip on.

Obviously when shifting pianos upstairs on TV adverts they'll also be required to observe H&S rules - do a proper risk assessment and hire a crane.

I can see this needing an ape-parliament to get right.

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Boffin

Some apes are more equal than others

"Animals *don't* have rights until they can express those rights themselves." - Neil Barnes

I know some mutes who would be most upset by neil's immoral revelation.

Sounds like Neil needs a good beating while he is sound asleep and unable to express his rights for himself.

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Boffin

the apes

"...the degradation of human society continues..." Joe Green

The same was said when blacks were given social rights.

Congratulations - ape boy

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Have you

Looked at the indigents on the average Spanish building site ? Presumably with the bill of right for apes will be a right to employment and social services benefits. Some of the many opportunities that come to mind are traffic warden, baggage handling and perhaps Community Policeman.

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Small Steps

I moved to Spain from the UK a few years ago now, and while not really 100% behind this law, I think there is a point to it.

Spain only left a dictatorship just over 30 years ago now, and we have to respect how far the Country has come in that short space of time. It's a much more open and freer society now (obviously!). However in 30 short years, you sort of can't expect large cultural changes immediately.

This law, as it sinks into people's awareness, might slowly work to create a better respect for animal care and husbandry. You can't expect bull fighting to stop over night as it so deeply ingrained into social fabric. However, I believe the new law will raise awareness and lead to a growing demand for bull fighting to stop eventually.

Remember how long Fox Hunting took to remove in the UK. Still there are illegal hunts and on going political rows about the 'sport'. Perhaps (and I might be giving them more respect than they are due) Zapatero's Gvt are trying to shift culture gently. I bear in mind though that even though we are in a credit crunch, and here we are feeling the pinch badly too, we still get nightly bin collections, we have a good Police force, and our hospitals (well last time I was in one our local one) are excellent.

So 300 years to ban fox hunting, 30 years free of a dictatorship to start trying to improve animal husbandry. I think it's a start.

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Coat

'human rights' for great apes??

Would that be more rights for the European Commissioners, then?

Mine's the one with the label saying "Devil's Island via Dartmoor". It's been there for 42 days...

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Spain, lol.

They send a pathetic amount of troops to help improve conditions in Afganistan, of real people? Hows about they help finish getting rights for real people before they think of ANIMALS. Apes are not related to people, atleast not as far as I am concerned.

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@ Shane Kent

Actually, no comment to you when I think about it.

I Promote Shane for FoTW

Or lay into me for staying in the UK so long while Blair & Bush shared a bed.

Who was the top do we think?

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Well overdue time, too

Most of them are much smarter than our government !! At the very least, they learn from their own mistakes !! Alternatively, we can re-classify our government as "Non-human" and put them in a zoo somewhere !! Oops, sorry, I forgot that's what Parliament is !!

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Coat

@Shane Kent

"They send a pathetic amount of troops to help improve conditions in Afganistan, of real people?"

Unlike sending the CIA to train the Mujahideen, which improved conditions locally by orders of magnitude?

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