1. Abolishing slavery with respect to all primates. Just as the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution served to abolish the institution of human slavery within the U.S., the APE Amendment abolishes the institution of slavery for all other primates. Such abolition means that primates—including apes, monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and several other mammalian species who are particularly closely related to homo sapiens—can no longer be treated as “property” and therefore can no longer be used for entertainment purposes, vivisection, or other forms of exploitation.
2. Recognizing the availability of the writ of habeas corpus for protecting the rights of all primates. The writ of habeas corpus is a key procedural mechanism for protecting the substantive rights of individuals in the American legal system. This mechanism allows demand, through a legal proceeding, that either (i) an adequate reason for holding an individual in captivity be demonstrated or (ii) the individual be released. By explicitly making the writ of habeas corpus available for safeguarding the rights of all primates, the APE Amendment activates a key vehicle for ensuring that other primates are free from slavery not only in theory but in actuality.
3. Providing a guardian ad litem when necessary to protect the rights of a primate. In the American legal system, when an individual does not have the capacity to properly protect his or her rights (e.g., an infant), a guardian ad litem can be appointed to act on behalf of the incapacitated individual. By explicitly making the guardian ad litem procedural mechanism available for use with respect to all primates, the APE Amendment activates another key vehicle for ensuring that other primates are free from slavery not only in theory but in actuality.
4. Eliminating the 13th Amendment exception for slavery in criminal cases. The language of the 13th Amendment provides an exception to its general prohibition of human slavery, namely, an exception for “punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted”. The APE Amendment eliminates this exception, both for humans and for all other primates. In closing this loophole, the APE Amendment directly affects humans and enhances humans’ civil rights in the United States. This enhanced protection of human rights is particularly relevant and important in America today, where the Democrat-Republican bloc has incarcerated the largest population of prisoners in the world and has transformed the criminal justice system into a for-profit prison system.