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Great Ape personhood

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Advocates of Great Ape personhood consider common chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans (the hominid apes) to be persons. They seek legal recognition of this status.

The best-known advocate is Jane Goodall, appointed a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations to fight the bushmeat trade and end ape extinction. Other well-known advocates are Richard Dawkins and Peter Singer.

Goodall's longitudinal studies revealed the social and family life of chimps to be very similar to that of human beings in most respects. She herself calls them individuals, and says they relate to her as an individual member of the clan. Laboratory studies of ape language ability began to reveal other human traits, as did genetics, and eventually three of the great apes were reclassified as hominids.

This, plus rising ape extinction and the animal-rights movement has put pressure on nations to recognize apes as having limited rights and being legal "persons". In response, the United Kingdom introduced a ban on research using Great Apes, although testing on other non-human primates continues. [1]

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