A recent bill in Spain proposes to give apes rights along the lines of humans. It has prompted much discussion on whether DNA similarities and connections guarantee animals equal rights. If the bill passes it would make torture, medical experiments on and the killing of apes illegal.

This makes some sense, since there is an argument that animals should not be submitted to torture or harmful medical experiments. The problem with passing bills such as this is where does it stop? Will protection have to be granted to other animals? One of the arguments to pass this bill is that apes have feelings and show emotion. However, cows can experience pleasure and fear as well, so does that mean we owe them Cow Rights? Clearly there is a difference between the two species and the situations, but an argument can be made for basically any creature that they deserve rights protection.

I don’t think a topic such as this needs to be legislated upon by a central government beyond a general guidance for all animals: prohibition of torture, cruel experiments and senseless killing. This provides a clear baseline that calls for the respect of living creatures and outlaws harm of them beyond self-defence and consumptive purposes.