This will apparently be the first time any national legislature has called for rights to life and freedom for non-humans.
June 25, 2008, 4:27 p.m. EDT
MADRID (Reuters) — The Spanish parliament’s environmental committee approved resolutions urging Spain to comply with the Great Apes Project, devised by scientists and philosophers who say our closest genetic relatives deserve rights hitherto limited to humans.
“This is a historic day in the struggle for animal rights and in defense of our evolutionary comrades, which will doubtless go down in the history of humanity,” said Pedro Pozas, Spanish director of the Great Apes Project.
Spain may be better known abroad for bull-fighting than animal rights but the new measures are the latest move turning once-conservative Spain into a liberal trailblazer.
The new resolutions have cross-party or majority support and are expected to become law and the government is now committed to update the statute book within a year to outlaw harmful experiments on apes in Spain. Keeping apes for circuses, television commercials or filming will also be forbidden and breaking the new laws will become an offense under Spain’s penal code.
Keeping an estimated 315 apes in Spanish zoos will not be illegal, but supporters of the bill say conditions will need to improve drastically in 70 percent of establishments to comply with the new law. -30-
So you can’t keep apes in circuses but you can keep them in zoos? I’m not sure I understand. In any event, any bets how long it would take the U.S. to do something like this? How about never? /Gary