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From the biological point of view, between two human beings there can be a difference of 0,5% in the DNA. Between a man and a chimpanzee this difference is only 1,23%. This similarity is proved, for instance, with the fact that chimpanzees can donate blood to humans, and vice-versa. Today it’s also known that chimpanzees, bonobos and men had an ancestor in common two million years ago.

Considering these facts, the exploitation of great primates in laboratories, circus, entertainment shows and zoos can be considered a kind of slavery, reminding what men used to do with others of his own kind who were considered to be inferior a little bit more than one century ago. And this exploitation is followed by a big drop on the number of great primates in the African and Asian forests, their natural habitats, which causes impacts on the environmental balance of the ecosystems.

GAP UK defends the rights of the great primates to live in liberty in their natural habitats. If this right is not respected and they become mistreating victims, probably it won’t be able to release them in the forests. Consequently, the mission turns to provide the best quality of life and state of welfare for the animals in captivity. At the sanctuaries, chimpanzees are treated of physical – mutilation and teeth extraction – and psychological traumas and stress caused by a life in the cage. They have the chance to recover from the bad traumas, to form social groups and even to reproduce, as they do in nature.

“A chimpanzee is not a pet and can not be used as an object for fun or scientific experiment. He or she thinks, develops affection, hates, suffers, learns and even transmits knowledge. To sum it up, they are just like us. The only difference is that they don’t speak, but they communicate through gestures, sounds and facial expressions. We need to guarantee their rights to life and to liberty”, explains Dr. Pedro A. Ynterian, Director of GAP International.

Mission and Vision

World Declaration on Great Primates

Right to life, to freedom and prohibition of torture are proposed by Great Ape Project as basic conditions to the relationship between humans and great primates. Read the content of the declaration on this page and give your support by signing the form at the end.

We propose the extension of rights allowance in an equally way to all great primates: human beings, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans. The principles that guide the relationship with great primates are:

1. Right to life

The lives of all great primates must be protected. The individuals can not be killed, with exception for extremely specific situations, such as self-defence.

2. Individual freedom protection

Great primates can not be deprived, in an arbitrary way, from their freedom. They have the right to live in their habitat. Great primates who live in captivity have the right to live with dignity, in large rooms, to have contact with others of their species to form families and must be protected from commercial exploitation.

3. Prohibition of torture

Intentional imposition of intense pain, physically or psychologically, to a great primate, with no reason or to other’s benefits, is considered a kind of torture and is an offence from which they must be protected.

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Great Ape Project – GAP is a international movement created in 1994. The main purpose is to guarantee the basic rights to life, freedom and non-torture of the non-human great apes – Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Orangutans and Bonobos, our closest relatives in the animal kingdom. For that, the project created the World Declaration on Great Primates, document that turns these rights official.

GAP was the result of ideas developed on a book that has the same name, written by philosophers Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer, who is considered to be one of the fathers of the animal defence and rights movement in the world. In the book, the authors and other renowned specialists, like British Primatologist Jane Goodall, explain that human beings and great primates share important characteristics, like social organization, communications and strong affectionate bonds among the individuals, which demonstrates that they are intelligent and, consequently, that they should have similar rights to ours.

The the International Great Ape Project, consisting of independent institutions in Brazil, Chile, Córd d'Ivoire, Germany, Mexico, Spain and Uruguay, has a new and therefore eighth national chapter: United Kingdom.

The Wales Ape & Monkey Sanctuary (WAMS) www.ape-monkey-rescue.org.uk has joined the Great Ape Project as a separate UK section.

This is especially important for the German and Spanish GAP-chapters, as there has been no primate research on the GAP in Europe. WAMS is now official GAP-Sanctuary Europe, which gives us the possibility to exert a much greater pressure on zoos and circuses, to give up primates from bad habitats. In addition, we have a much better position in dealing with veterinary authorities when it comes to the official seizure of primates. Until now, both zoo and circus operators as well as the respective competent authorities were able to reject our claims, even in the case of clearest violations of the animal welfare law. There was simply no suitable place where the animals could have been permanently rehomed.

WAMS has all the necessary licenses to import primates from abroad to the United Kingdom and to keep them permanently. In contrast to the three other centers for primates in Europe, the WAMS pursues a strict no-way-back-to-a-zoo philosophy. The three other "Sanctuaries", on the other hand, cooperate closely with zoos and, where appropriate, return their animals or seized animals. One of these "Sanctuaries" is even engaged in breeding programs for zoos.

WAMS is personally known to us: some time ago we were involved in the transfer of two chimpanzees from the Zoo Delbrück to Wales

(see: https://www.greatapeproject.de/delbrck/ ). The founders and trustees of WAMS - Jan and Graham Garen and their dedicated team - have been working very reliably, professionally, and in full compliance with the principles of the GAP.

Please welcome the new GAP Chapter

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