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Do Apes Deserve Basic Rights

In: Social Issues

Submitted By nishanirj
Words 1503
Pages 7
MODR 1730, Debate 1: June 5th 2014

Topic: Discuss that apes and other higher primates ought to be afforded limited rights; to do otherwise is speciesism.

Arguments For Apes Getting Limited Rights

If apes can be defined and categorized as persons, then they are to be given equal consideration and limited basic rights such as the right not to suffer from cruel treatment (i.e. in medical experiments). To argue otherwise would be speciesism, which can be defined as a prejudice towards the interests of one's own species and against those of members of other species.

Main points as to why apes can be defined as persons:

1. Some scientists have linked the 5 great apes into 1 biologically similar group (chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, bonobos, and humans). Humans are just another type of ape. Humans and chimpanzees are 99% identical genetically (in respects to blood type, brain structure) and they demonstrate identical behavior for the first three years. 2. According to Kant, humans are self-conscious and rational, whreas animals are not and that is why we have no direct duties to animals themselves, but rather only to humans. However scientists have found that all 5 apes (this includes humans) are self aware and morally aware, as displayed in behavior. For example, if you place a dot on a chimpanzee, they are able to recognize that and realize it does not belong. This shows that they are self aware. Moreover, by observing Kanzi, the bonobo, we can see human like characteristics. For example, Kanzi is able to understand and carry out simple instructions such as starting a fire by using sticks and a lighter. He understand grammar and sentence structure by being able to differniate between sentences such as "turn off the water", "put the water in the bowl" "wash the potato with water". Moreover, research has shown that Kanzi, the bonobo has very…...

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