Human beings are undoubtedly blessed with the most extraordinary gift of nature—the most sophisticated consciousness. However, it is also this superb awareness which shackles some Homo sapiens with an abject humiliation - an irrational horror of their animality. The human animals’ realisation of their biological, hence finite, condition can impel them to fearfully disclaim their ancestry and strive to 'transcend' their natural condition. The human species' claim to superior physical and moral status in the natural world on the basis of either their 'unique' rationality, dignity or worth, is specious. Traditional western philosophical, religious, scientific and literary ideologies have initiated and sustained a myth that the other animals, including the Great Apes other than Homo sapiens, are inferior members of the natural world. These ideologies have contributed to our primate cousins’ exclusion from the opportunity to relish a life suffused with physical, intellectual and emotional dignity.
Recommended CitationMurphy, Elizabeth, In what respects, if any, should the primates be equal?, Animal Issues, 3(1), 1999.