Newsletter - Animal Writes © sm
27 October 1999

By [email protected]

Since the Great Ape Project was launched in 1993, tens of thousands of people have signed the Declaration on Great Apes (the ‘DOGA’). This Declaration requests three very fundamental protections for our fellow great apes: The Right to Life; the Protection of Individual Liberty; and the Prohibition of Torture. With those requests and Declaration in hand, we step up our signature campaign. This campaign focuses on gathering signatures, but its effects blossom from there. As people read and sign this globally accessible document, they learn about and advocate the increasingly supported mission of the Great Ape Project. Simultaneously, the campaign builds GAP’s support community, connecting us with others who believe that humans should not be the sole recipients of basic protections.

Also, people who sign the Declaration on Great Apes online at

are invited to join our electronic mailing list, called ‘GAPNews.’ This free service is often "action-based," providing opportunities to participate in campaigns that need attention. This mailing list is practical, but also unifying; it brings signatories together as a community of caring, supportive, and ready-for-action humans. As the international signature campaign coordinator, I have worked with wonderful people from all over the world, who have collected signatures, distributed the DOGA, subscribed to GAPNews, and volunteered to help with other campaigns. Since I took on this campaign in June 1998, GAP has collected thousands of signatures from individuals and organizations worldwide, including (but not limited to) Australia, Canada, Germany, India, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The DOGA can be signed on hard copy or online as mentioned. Because of the easy accessibility of this document, anyone can become an activist in this sense. If one cares about the well being of nonhuman great apes, one can use the DOGA to educate people, build the support base, and expand the mailing list. People who help expose the Declaration will bring the DOGA onto the streets and into the mainstream, where it desperately needs to be read, understood, and accepted. It needs to be shown to diverse audiences. This means you and I should see it in magazines, newspapers / letters to the editor, schools / universities, animal shelters, grocery stores, waiting rooms, and anywhere else people may see it.

Although we have gotten tens of thousands of signatures on the Declaration, we have only tapped the very outer surface of potential exposure spots. In order for the world to hear this request of respect, we count on the time and determination of volunteers. Some ways volunteers can expose the message and get signatures include:

*posting the DOGA to bulletin boards;
*distributing DOGAs to schoolmates and / or co-workers;
*tabling at festivals, fairs, and other events;
*submitting letters to the editor;
*linking the DOGA to your website;
*emailing the Declaration to friends, family, and others.

If you would like to discuss ways to get the DOGA supported, please email me at <[email protected]>. We would love to have you introduce the Declaration to ‘mainstream’ places in your area and beyond.

The goal of the Great Ape Project is of major historical significance. We must continue to bring exposure and support to the Declaration and its requests on behalf of nonhuman great apes: life, liberty, and prohibition of torture. We believe these are three very reasonable requests that must no longer be denied.

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