The Great Ape Project (GAP) is an organization whose foundingdeclarationstates apes “may not be killed” or “arbitrarily deprived of their liberty.” The Spanish proposal will treat great apes “like humans of limited capacity, such as children or those who are mentally incompetent and are afforded guardians or caretakers to represent their interests.” The passage of this proposal would, “commit the (Spanish) government to ending involuntary use of apes incircuses, TV ads, and dangerous experiments.1
Peter Singer, the co-founder of GAP, states: “There is no sound moral reason why possession of basic rights should be limited to members of a particular species.” Saletan went on to state: “To borrow Martin Luther King’s rule, you should be judged by what’s inside you, not what’s on the surface.”1
Opponents of the GAP view this proposal as “egalitarian extremism.” Spanish newspapers and citizens complain that ape rights are “distracting lawmakers from human problems.”
According to one anti-animal rights reporter: “Animal rights activist believe a rat, is a pig, is a dog, is a boy.”1 In contrast, GAP believes “great apes experience an emotional and intellectual conscience similar to that of human children.” GAP demands humans, chimps, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans are “members of the community of equals.” Singer adds: “GAP may pave the way for the extension of rights to all primates, or all mammals, or all animals.”1
The mission statement for GAP states, “great apes are entitled to rights based on their ‘morally significant characteristics.’”1 The mission reads as follows:
The idea is founded upon undeniable scientific proof that non-human great apes share more than genetically similar DNA with their human counterparts. They enjoy a rich emotional and cultural existence in which they experience emotions such as fear, anxiety and happiness. They share the intellectual capacity to create and use tools, learn and teach other languages. They remember their past and plan for their future. It is in recognition of these and other morally significant qualities that the Great Ape Project was founded.
Saletan believes the GAP mission statement appeals to discrimination, not to universal equality; as most animals can’t make tool and don’t teach languages. He went on to compare the GAP mission to a “Moral Majority for vegans.”1
In a final note in the article, Saletan used a quote from George Orwell’s Animal Farm: “All animal are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.”1
This article was interesting in pointing out both sides of the argument for great ape rights. The article reports: “We are closer genetically to a chimp than a mouse is to rat.”1 The article also describes how some animal rights activists believe “a rat, is a pig, is a dog, is a boy.” Personally, I am not sold on this of being the same as a rat. However, I do feel there should be basic rights set on place for all animals and I do support the GAP proposal.
As a pet owner, I can tell each of my dogs have their own unique personalities. To me, they are just furry humans.
I say if apes were human beings, none of these comparisons between them and us would say include the words "similar"- they would include "same" or "exact". If apes were human beings they would share our adaptations- such as walking up straight, speech, brain ratio range to body, looks, etc... I just think it is ridiculous to give an animal (besides people of course) rights. It's not like if they didn't receive rights they'd do rally about it (as they been without). They have no concern, or even the knowledge- nor conception of- these. They do not share our complex thought, or our abilities; though they are alike to us, they are still animals that do not operate society or conceive it. Not to sound like an ape hater here- I have a very sensitive side for animals- it's just that that is so illogical.
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