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Beginning of end for Great Ape Experiments?

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Knight A.

The beginning of the end for great ape experiments? Veterinary Review [UK] 2008; 142: 8. . Also at animal_experimentation_great_apes_knight_2008.htm .

Invasive experiments on great apes - chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and gorillas - arguably represent the ?thermal core? of the hotly contested debate surrounding animal experimentation. The temperature of this debate rose significantly at the end of June, when the Spanish parliamentary environmental committee approved resolutions complying with the Great Ape Project, writes Andrew Knight, veterinarian and president of the political party, Animals Count. Founded in 1993 by philosophers Peter Singer and Paola Cavalieri, the Project asserts that these highly-sentient non-human hominids should enjoy lives free of captivity or ?torture.? The resolutions have cross-party support and are expected to become law within a year, effectively resulting in a Spanish ban on great ape experiments.

Historic legislation
The temperature of this debate has been sharply rising for months. In April, a bi-partisan political group introduced The Great Ape Protection Act to US Congress. This historic bill similarly proposed to end invasive research and testing on some 1,200 chimpanzees confined within US laboratories, and to ensure their retirement to sanctuaries.

In late 2007, 433 Members of the European Parliament similarly signed Parliamentary Written Declaration 40/2007, calling for urgent action to end great ape experiments. This number of signatories was the highest recorded on an animal protection issue, and the third highest for any Declaration, since 2000. This Declaration may soon be implemented within the current formal revision of European Directive 86/609/EEC on the Protection of Animals used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes, which governs such animal use within EU member states. Elsewhere, legislative or policy bans or restrictions on invasive great ape experimentation now exist in seven European countries, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. ?

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