Last summer, Spanish Parliament’s environmental committee adopted a resolution that gave great apes “the right to life, freedom from arbitrary captivity and protection from torture.” According to an article in Discover, the resolution also protects them from “harmful research practices and exploitation for profit, such as use in films, commercials, and circuses.”
Could this be a significant societal step toward future Bigfoot protection if or when DNA evidence is collected to suggest its taxonomy?
More and more countries are treating higher mammals as more human than animal. But unlike Spain’s “freedom from arbitrary captivity,” in India, “monkey jails” have been established for monkeys that steal, apparently a rapidly growing problem there.
But other countries have moved in a more positive direction. In Great Britain and New Zealand experimentation on greater apes is already illegal, the Great Ape Protection Act is pending in the United States Congress, and other countries have begun to look more closely into experimentation on smaller monkeys, even ordering a stop to unusual or unnecessary experiments.
Spain’s resolution is particularly important as it is the first national recognition of animal legal rights. But all these regulations show that governments are acknowledging the sentience and decision-making power of higher non-human animals.
Some questions these news tidbits bring to my mind:
Does classification as an ape provide more protection than as an endangered or protected species? The current laws and proposed laws suggest they would.
Can Bigfoot be presumed a “Great Ape” without DNA evidence? Is it possible Bigfoot is related to humans or simply a new species of bear? How does the classification and lack of taxonomical evidence affect legal protection?
Laws take time to both make and overturn. If laws are made now based on current evidence, and later DNA evidence suggests that Bigfoot is either a greater or lesser species than his current classification, what are the ramifications?
What do you think?
For more information about this important topic:
“Spain Gives Great Apes Legal Rights: http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jan/064
“Great Apes Have Right to Life and Liberty, Spain Says,” http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2008/06/27/great-apes-have-the-right-to-life-and-liberty-spain-says/
Great Ape Project—an organization that argues for legal rights of “non-human hominids,” http://www.greatapeproject.org/
The Humane Society’s page on the Great Ape Protection Act, http://www.hsus.org/legislation_laws/federal_legislation/animals_in_research/the_great_ape_protection_act.html