The Great Ape Project: Interview with President, Michele Stumpe

The Great Ape Project (GAP) calls for an extension of moral equality to encompass all great apes, not just human beings. The international collection of primatologists, ethicists, and other experts argues that we should expand our moral community to include these animals because of their similarities with humans, i.e., “they are intelligent beings with a rich and varied social and emotional life”. GAP, which is an idea, a book, and an organization, challenges a traditional boundary separation between humans and other animals.

The book, edited by renowned philosophers Peter Singer and Paola Cavalieri, has sparked heated debate within and outside of the animal advocacy movements since its publication in 1993. While some scientists and scholars argue that inclusion of the great apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, and orang-utans) is the first step toward moral equality for all animals, others worry that The Great Ape project might actually reinforce the species boundary by suggesting that inclusion only be granted to those who are “like us”. Still others believe that the inclusion of great apes within the moral community should be the ultimate goal, an end unto itself.

Attorney Michele Stumpe, President of GAP, will join us to discuss the history of the project, its controversial philosophical underpinnings, and the conditions currently facing the thousands of great apes in captivity.

Listen right now:

or download an mp3 of the show.

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