The premise that ‘talking’ gorillas, ‘signing’ chimpanzees and baboons have rights has been a controversial issue. The controversy is caused by the uncertainty on the level of consciousness these apes possess. Rights and privileges belong only to moral or ethical creatures. Most scientists argue that these primates lack such ethical authority. They do not have the high-scale reasoning skills that enable the man to make choices between different lines of conduct. On the other hand, these animals can think, but not to the capacity of a man. (Hinkle, 2013) The world should recognize and secure the rights of talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees and baboons. These primates have intricate similarities in psychology and behavior with human children and adults. The differences in consciousness between people and talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees and baboons are rather insignificant to rationalize different treatment for the two. Consequently, these primates should receive similar moral respect and rights that human beings enjoy.
There are different opinions regarding the issue of the rights being a privilege of animals. Some researchers postulate that rights belong to ethical creatures, and talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees and baboons lack that moral agency. Instincts guide the animals. Therefore, they lack the higher-order reasoning that enable people to choose between different lines of conduct. Though these contrary opinions have reasons, it is iniquitous to withdraw ethical considerations when interacting with the closest to a man species.
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Talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees, and baboons do have rights. There are obvious similarities between these apes and a man. First of all, these animals are self-conscious. Because of this self-consciousness, gorillas, chimpanzees, and baboons can experience grief in ways not so distinct from a man’s feelings under similar conditions.
The survey results noted that talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees and baboons are the closest to the man animals. For instance, the chimpanzee shares 98% of genes and a considerable scale of human manners. There is a slight distinction between a human being and a talking chimpanzee DNA, in fact, less than 0.6%. Most features are remarkably similar to a man. It is common for chimpanzees to make friends for all their lives. They also help the sick and elderly. They exhibit a sense of fairness. For instance, if chimpanzee rejects sharing its food, the community excludes it from the next meal. Just like man, chimpanzees can live in communities of up to 70 individuals and spend 90% of their life on the ground. According to the research of a well-known biologist Morris Goodman from Detroit, a man shares over 99% of chimpanzee DNA. The researcher has even suggested including chimpanzee in the human species, changing their classification from Pan Troglodytes to Homo Troglodytes, and redefining them as human beings (Chuecco, 2013).
In addition, these animals and human beings have similar psychology and organization of the body. They have 32 teeth. Baboons and gorillas possess well-developed agility of the hand. They use it to perform various tasks such as eating and making tools. Their hand is extremely similar to the human hand. When they get older, their hair turns grey. These animals also exhibit other characteristics peculiar to human beings like sleeping, migrating, feeding, and socializing. These primates can express feelings of happiness, anger, depression, and fear with different emotions. They can also ‘play politics’. Chimpanzees have leaders; they gather fruit and give other members of the community in order to instate themselves in favor. They have conflicts during fighting for social status. In addition, these animals can communicate with words, yells, and roars. They use hands for greeting and kiss each other.
Do ‘talking’ gorillas and ‘signing’ chimpanzees and baboons have rights? The answer is simple - the similar to human beings species deserve certain rights. After all, they exhibit close links to moral creatures. They should be treated with dignity and be allowed to live without pain and fear. Man must acknowledge the same fundamental moral principles to these creatures like when dealing with fellow human beings. It is logical to protect animal rights. Human beings have a bill of rights that protect them. In the same measure, it is rational for other animals to have rights. Prejudice against ‘talking’ gorillas, ‘signing’ chimpanzees and baboons that threaten their existence can be settled only if animals are granted their rights. These animals can be protected through the establishment of privileges that can safeguard their interests.
The right to life, protection of individual liberty, prohibition of torture, and freedom of association, freedom of movement and protection from hunters are some of the rights that should be guaranteed for talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees and baboons. First of all, talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees and baboons should be granted the right to life. There should be no scientific experiments carried out on the animals. They should not be killed as a source of food, medicine, or hide. Their life should be protected like the life of human beings. These animals should be free to associate. There should be a bill of rights to protect them from selective breeding. They should be allowed to groom independently. Selective breeding should be carried out only in case of their own benefit. Animals should have a right not to be hunted. They should be protected from hunters who kill them for food or other products. (Wieland, 2013). Talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees and baboons should enjoy the freedom of movement. There should be no menageries restricting the movement of animals. The right should also protect apes from being used for showbiz reasons. Any exploitation of these animals should be prohibited. Whether on the ranch, laboratory or in an entertainment center, it is immoral and unreasonable to prejudice animals. The reasoning behind animal rights begs for fair treatment.
The premises reinforce the rational that talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees and baboons should lead an independent life with values and rights. It is ridiculous to favor certain species subjectively. It is illogical to discriminate nonhuman animals like primates. It is wrong to treat the wildlife as a set of resources or commodity that should work for human benefit despite its own wellbeing. The consciousness of these animals is as developed as the one of humans.
Biological studies of evolution form the basis for the viewpoint that talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees and baboons have rights. Charles Darwin argued that man is distinct from many other animals only in extent, not in kind. Using animals in labs, as a source of food, for pleasure or economic revenue is exploiting a psychologically related species. There is no critical difference between humans and these mammals in their conceptual aptitudes (Barley, 2013).
The opinions that assert that man species is superior to talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees and baboons are simple prejudice just like racism or sexism. It is species discrimination that has no justification. Killing these animals for the benefit of the Homo sapiens is unreasonable and immoral. The virtues of compassion and generosity also advance the need for granting talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees and baboons their rights. The man should show love and mercy to animals similar to him in moral composition.
There is a distinction between animal rights and the rights of human children or mentally impaired people. Animal rights are not natural, unlike human rights. The only real animal rights are those granted by human beings. Animals safeguarded by men are secured from the risks of the environment and ecosystem where they live. Rights are the privilege of the reasoning creatures, like human beings. In case, some members of the community lack the ability to think, for instance children and those who are mentally impaired, a man should be considerate to treat them normally as they are the representatives of the human species (Baur, 2008).
The main difference between the rights of human children, mentally impaired people and animal rights is that animal rights are not natural. Human beings inherit rights irrespective of their moral incapacitation. On the other hand, human beings grant animals their rights.
In conclusion, it is evident that talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees, and baboons have rights. These apes have features, which prove that they are self-conscious, can communicate, think, and reason. However, their development slightly falls behind the human psychology. They need rights to protect their lives. Man should not compromise the life of talking gorillas, signing chimpanzees and baboons; on the contrary, the society should be sensible towards animal problems and needs. Human beings must treat nonhuman animals within ethical and moral concern and finish unfair treatment to their lives.
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