If we regard human rights as something possessed by all human beings, no matter how limited their intellectual or emotional capacities may be, how can we deny similar rights to great apes? To do so would be to display a prejudice against other beings merely because they are not members of our species - a prejudice we call speciesism, to highlight its resemblance to racism. The Spanish resolution marks the first official acceptance of that view. The use of the term "slavery" in relation to animals is especially significant, for it has been assumed that animals are rightly our slaves, to use as we wish, whether to pull our carts, be models of human diseases for research, or produce eggs, milk, or flesh for us to eat. Recognition by a government that it can be wrong to enslave animals is a significant breach in the wall of exclusive moral significance we have built around our own species.
Det föredömliga beslutet står dock i bjärt kontrast till de absurda övergreppen mot djurrättsrörelsen i Österrike, där tio aktivister fortfarande sitter fängslade sedan 21 maj i år - troligen på initiativ av konservativa krafter i regeringen och deras allierade i djurindustrierna.
One, Martin Balluch, has been given a 1,500-page police file to justify his arrest. In the file his name is mentioned only three times, all in connection with media interviews or articles. Ironically Balluch, a brilliant man with doctorates in both physics and philosophy, is one of the foremost spokesmen in the worldwide animal rights movement for pursuing the nonviolent, democratic road to reform.
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