In particular, the parliament's environmental committee approved resolutions urging Spain to comply with the recommendations of the Great Ape Project, which seeks to extend human rights to great apes. According to Reuters, the resolution "is expected to become law and the government is now committed to update the statute book within a year to outlaw harmful experiments on apes in Spain."
It is hard for me to see how mere beasts can have rights. That does not follow from our responsibility as stewards to care for animals and protect them from unnecessary suffering and death. Often one hears that rights accompany responsibilities. But apes have no responsibility to humans.
When Pope Benedict addressed the United Nations, he praised the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and said:
"The rights recognized and expounded in the declaration apply to everyone by virtue of the common origin of the person, who remains the high point of God's creative design for the world and for history. ... They are based on the natural law inscribed on human hearts and present in different cultures and civilizations."