by Lee Hall
Now this is real news: A group of influential Homo sapiens has resolved to grant rights to other apes. Spain’s environmental ministers accepted a declaration from scientists and philosophers; the parliament is now expected to fill in a nonbinding resolution with laws forbidding the use of nonhuman great apes in harmful experiments, or on stage.
Amnesty International has expressed its alarm: What about the rights of the world’s many detained and degraded human beings?
And yet, is there any reason why basic rights to life and liberty should only be discussed with reference to humanity? Can’t we humans act decently – to human beings and others? Surely, respect should be nurtured in all its forms.
…And taking the rights of apes seriously would be a boon to entire forest biocommunities that need us to stop breeding cattle and logging ancient forests and extracting everything we can get our drills into. The best possible outcome from the Spanish resolution would be the start of a robust movement to defend the planet’s untamed places. That would help apes and tree frogs alike, and they all should have the simple right to live as they will.
Click to read Lee Hall, Rights for Other Apes, They Insist. Are They Serious? Dissident Voice (27 Aug 2008).