I don’t like this news one bit.
The news I speak of, is that the the Spanish Socialist Party will introduce a bill in the Congress of Deputies calling for,
“the immediate inclusion of (simians) in the category of persons, and that they be given the moral and legal protection that currently are only enjoyed by human beings.”
The PSOE’s justification is that humans share 98.4% of our genes with chimpanzees, 97.7% with gorillas, and 96.4% with orangutans. But remember the wording of the bill uses simians which are primates, not just great apes. So using great ape genetic similarities doesn’t justify including all the other species of primates. Great apes only make of 5 of the current living species of the entire primate taxa, which ranges between 608–625 counted species. That’s less than .8% of all the species counted. The other 99.2% may or may not share as much genetic similarity with us, let alone the behavioral and phenotypic differences.
In the past I have argued that genetics alone do not call the shots, in regards to redefining the genus Homo. There are inherent physical and social differences between humans and non-human primates. For example our bipedal nature and our cultural tendancies define our species. Sure great apes possess sufficient mental faculties and emotional life, sometimes cultural behaviors but they by no means match our cognitive abilities.
Looking at the outstanding mistake the socialists have made in phrasing their bill makes me wonder if someone took everything that was said in the naive book The Great Ape Project to heart. This just irks me. It reeks of biological determinism, and a ignorant way to conserve endangered species.
It seems like someone took the long way around the problem. People will not necessarily preserve and conserve primates if they are redefined in our genus or with our rights.
Who knows if they even want our rights? To assume they do is just as ignorant than to drive them to extinction.
What I do know is that their environments are being destroyed and they are being consumed for their meat. Why don’t we just adjust our behaviors rather than redefining a whole biological and social construct?