In the news this month Spain is considering giving human rights to apes. Yes, you read that right, they are considering that Apes are more like us than other animals and deserve to be recognised and treated as such.
This is where the theory of evolution, inevitably, was and is heading... I suppose. What other conclusion could come from saying that all of life has a common primordial source and that we are just "more advanced" than other animals? We tell kids to respect their elders. Now, law makers are just telling us adults to do the same - show Uncle Ape some respect!
So, the idea in this proposed legislation is that apes are not to be owned, but are to be "morally" guarded. They will have similar rights to children (human) and severly handicapped people. To harm an ape would no longer be animal cruelty, it would be a criminal offence punishable under human treatment laws.
Discussion is rampant, as you can imagine. Numerous people are speaking against it and many are supporting the bill. I heard a debate on the radio about the bill. Evidently we share somewhere between 95-98 percent of our genetic material with apes. Not that I'm sharing any of mine, to be perfectly honest. I'm using every bit of my matter, grey and otherwise.
But, back to the debate... One of the debaters said, "We share over 50 percent of our genetic matter with banana's. You don't hear ANYONE suggesting that we give rights to bananas." No, I don't think the apes would be in favour of that in the slightest! Imagine the dilema we would have - teaching apes (in gentle respectable ways) that they can not eat their ancestors. "Show some respect Uncle, that's Grandpa you're trying to peel."
Anyway, what I think the anti-banana-rights-activist is actually getting at is that just because we look like apes (some more than others) we don't need to anthropomorphise them to the point that we give them names (opps, already doing that), teach them to read (oh yeah, doing that too, drat), teach them to communicate with us ("apple" "good girl!"...) I'm digging myself into a hole here.
Perhaps we should just move out and give the keys to the nearest ape. We could always go back to the trees.