by Lee Hall, March 2006
Is Spain poised to grant legal protection for great apes?
An important message from GRASP, updated March 2006
Contact: Paula Casal of Proyecto Gran Simio, Spain
Zapatero's Socialist Party in Spain is governing in coalition with the Green Party. Francisco Garrido of the Green Party, a bioethicist and deputy for Seville, has presented a proposal to the Spanish parliament ("Proposicion No de Ley" is the technical term) to obtain a commitment from the Spanish government to grant chimpanzees, gorillas, orang-utans, and bonobos protection against "slavery, torture, death, and extinction." But note carefully: This is a "Proposicion No de Ley" which means a "Proposal Not of Law". To make this binding, it would have to be a "Proposicion de Ley" or "Proposal of Law". One step at a time...
In March, Proyecto Gran Simio was invited to speak before the Spanish Parliament. This will take place on 25 April 2006 — after a meeting with the Environment Minister on April 1.
Text of the "Proposición No de Ley" by Francisco Garrido:
"El Congreso de los Diputados insta al Gobierno a declarar su adhesión al Proyecto Gran Simio y a emprender las acciones necesarias en los foros y organismos internacionales, para la protección de los grandes simios del maltrato, la esclavitud, la tortura, la muerte y extinción."
The proposal is enjoying considerable attention from the Spanish media following front-page news in the main papers regarding the completion of the chimpanzee genome project and a United Nations report predicting that all free-living great apes, and their cultures, will disappear in the next thirty years. An updated list of signatories appears regularly in the electronic and paper journals of Spain's Proyecto Gran Simio, and is then distributed to the Spanish press.
Supporters of GRASP should feel empowered to spend a few minutes writing, on paper (NOTE: the new 2006 letter rate U.S. to Spain is 84 cents), your support for Garrido's "proposicion de ley", sign it, and send it to the address below. Just a few lines by hand (in English or Spanish; see sample below) will suffice; it is the volume of letters that matters. Writing from universities or other institutions also helps. In addition, please inform others of this alert.
Sample message of support (suggested letter for members and supporters to send to the address below):
Apoyo la "Proposicion No de Ley" y todas acciones necesarias en los foros y organismos internacionales, para la protección de los grandes simios del maltrato, la esclavitud, la tortura, la muerte y extinción.
I support the Proposal to the Spanish Parliament as well as all necessary actions in international fora to protect great apes from maltreatment, enslavement, torture, death, and extinction.
______________________ [Print name; date; institution if applicable]
Please send your message of support to:
Proyecto Gran Simio,
Guadalest 5, 2A,
03005 Alicante, Spain.