Great ape personhood

From Academic Kids

Advocates of great ape personhood consider chimpanzees (and bonobos, which are Pygmy Chimpanzees), gorillas, and orangutans (the hominid apes) to be persons. They seek legal recognition of this status.

The best-known advocate is Jane Goodall, appointed a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations to fight the bushmeat trade and end ape extinction, also known as ape genocide. Other well-known advocates involved are Richard Dawkins and Peter Singer.

Goodall's longitudinal studies revealed the social and family life of chimps to be very similar to that of human beings in most respects. She herself calls them individuals, and claims they relate to her as an individual member of the clan. Laboratory studies of ape language ability began to reveal other human traits, as did genetics, and eventually three of the great apes were reclassified as hominids.

This, plus rising ape extinction and the animal-rights movement began to put pressure on nations to recognize apes as having limited rights and being legal "persons". In response, the United Kingdom banned most medical experimentation on chimpanzees, a very notable success for the activists, as primate testing is usually considered an important part of medical research. Despite this ban, however, the United Kingdom continues to conduct more tests on primates each year than any other country in the world.

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