The Spanish Parliament has voted to grant limited human rights to our closest biological relatives, the great apes — chimpanzees,gorillas and orangutans, and in doing so has raised a plethora of ethical questions. They don't plan on giving apes the right to vote, drive of bear arms, but they do see their rights akin to those of children.
Wherever your views fall on our responsibilities in sharing Earth with an estimated 10 to 50 million other species, the debate now raises ethical issues for all of us, including scientists who use animals for study, and for Spain itself which uses bulls for blood sport. Can you protect one species and not others? What about dogs, pigs, dolphins?What about human rights, how does this impact the fact that many people around the world are still fighting for basic civil rights? Does it denigrate their struggle or does it only support it?