Animals got soul, too

Aretha Franklin has it, James Brown too: soul. It's easy to identify but difficult to define. However, your mortal soul is easier to define; Christian doctrine tells us people have it but animals don't. So it is surprising, but welcome, to learn that Spain intends to give rights "to life and freedom" to apes and chimps (your report, 28 June).

Hopefully, this improved attitude to animal rights will extend in Spain to bulls and also extended more widely in our own country to animal experimentation on primates.

The crux of the argument in favour of giving these rights to primates is that they are close to humans in terms of intelligence. It is perhaps more difficult to assess the relative intelligence of whales and dolphins, since their modes of communication are different from our own. But the Spanish decision lends greater weight to those opposed to recent moves to restart commercial hunting of whales.

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It is unfortunate for animals such as cows and sheep that it will take longer for people to recognise that we have no right to take their lives to satisfy our appetite. What these animals need, as Aretha would put it, is a little respect.

JAMES BOYLE, Eastwoodmains Road, Clarkston, Glasgow