[Re-directed from the Great Ape Project]
June 10, 2006
Great Apes Need Your Help! The Spanish Parliament is scheduled to consider a resolution supporting legal rights for non-human great apes at the end of June. This resolution recognizes the need for basic legal protections and rights that will protect the non-human great apes from mistreatment, slavery, torture, death and extinction.
The proposed proposition:
The Parliament demands the Government to declare its adhesion to the Great Ape Project and to undertake the actions necessary in the international round tables and organizations, for the protection of The Great Apes from miss treatment, slavery, torture, death and extinction.
Please take just a few minutes to let the Spanish government know that there is worldwide support for this important legislation. You can do this by posting a comment on the Great Ape Project's website in Spain by clicking on http://www.proyectogransimio.org/completa.htm and selecting "libro de visitas"
Historic Breakthrough for Great Apes in New Zealand
We received the following press release from the Great Ape Project today.
"New Zealand's Parliament has created a world first by putting specific protection for non-human hominids, also known as great apes, into legislation.
In passing its new Animal Welfare Act on Thursday, the New Zealand Parliament has prohibited the use of all great apes in research, testing, or teaching "unless such use is in the best interests of the non-human hominid" or its species.
There are five great ape species: chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, and humans, and all are in the same genetic family.
"This requirement recognizes the advanced cognitive and emotional capacity of great apes," said New Zealand's Minister for Food and Fibre, John Luxton, who was responsible for the passage of the bill through Parliament.
Such recognition is based on scientific evidence that the nonhuman great apes share not only our genes but also basic human mental traits, such as self-awareness, intelligence and other forms of mental insight, complex communications and social systems, and even the ability to master some human language skills.
"New Zealand is the first country in the world to legislate in this way," said Mr Luxton.
The Great Ape Project-International has hailed the groundbreaking legislation as part of the trend toward recognizing the complex mental, social and individual realities of other animals' lives. That trend is also evident in the explosion of interest shown by U.S. law schools in the status of other animals, most recently confirmed by Harvard University's decision to offer an animal law course in the Spring of 2000. "Ultimately, GAP would like to see the nonhuman great apes accorded standing in legal systems throughout the world," said the organization's vice-president, Paul Waldau. "This would permit them to be protected by rights to life, liberty, and freedom from torture. Additionally, we'd like to have the United Nations provide realistic recognition and protections."
The numbers of nonhuman great apes have plummeted this century, as free-living populations have increasingly fallen victim to the commercial bushmeat trade and deforestation. More than 3,000 individuals are held in captivity around the world. All of the nonhuman great ape species are listed as threatened."
The Born Free Foundation echos these sentiments
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