After abolition, what will happen to those who try to re-enslave animals?

The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reserves certain powers to the states.  One of those reserved powers is, generally speaking, the area of criminal law.  The specifics of how a state deals with torture, mutilation, bestiality, kidnapping, molestation, infanticide, confinement, and killing of animals will, accordingly, be provided in the given state’s criminal law statutes.  Violators of those statutes will be criminally prosecuted.

In a post-abolition world, no sentient species will be excluded from protection against abuse, and no act of violence against or exploitation of an animal will be justifiable on a theory of ownership, property, contract, objectification, or instrumental use.  Recognized defenses, such as insanity and self-defense, will be unaffected by animal emancipation.

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When cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals are emancipated, will their former captors be compensated for the “loss” of their “property”?

No.  The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that “neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay… any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.”

What’s the best way for me to help the movement?

This chart provides a good breakdown of five different tiers of the animal-protection movement.  Find the one that’s right for you and then let the Humane Party know by submitting the volunteer application.

Effective Activist

Effective Activist

Why didn’t the Humane Party keep “the Abolition Party” as its formal name?

During the process of creating and naming what is now called the Humane Party, this organization had three alternate names.  They were:

  • the “Vegan Party”
  • the “Abolition Party”
  • the “Humane Party”

All three of these names are now, always have been, and always will be accurate ways to refer to the Humane Party.

For example, the Humane Party is indeed the Vegan Party, because it requires, through the Humane Party Oath, that all candidates, officers, and board members must be vegan. Moreover, the Humane Party is indeed the Abolition Party, because it is expressly committed to abolition of all forms of slavery.

Notwithstanding the accuracy of all three names, the Humane Party chose the “Humane Party” name as its formal name because the word “humane” encompasses many concerns that fall outside of the commonly understood scope of the word “abolition”. For instance, the Humane Party’s leadership in areas such as civil rights (for example, the Equal Rights Amendment II (ERA2)) falls comfortably within the generally recognized ambit of the word “humane” but may not relate as directly to the word “abolition.”

"Wow.. Being Property Sucks." - cartoon by Jim Bertram, 2011

“Wow.. Being Property Sucks.” – cartoon by Jim Bertram, 2011

Why does the text of the Abolition Amendment adhere so closely to that of the 13th Amendment?

Modern abolitionists often ask about the origin of the text of Section 1 of the Abolition Amendment, particularly the phrase “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude”.  This phrase is a word-for-word quote from the 13th Amendment.  Re-using this phrase verbatim has several benefits, such as:

  • INTENDED RESULT:  the actual, historical effect of the 13th Amendment is undeniable: it ended human slavery; re-using the operative text of the 13th Amendment sends a clear signal that the Abolition Amendment will do the same thing for other animals
  • CONNECTING TO OTHER SECTIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION:  the 14th Amendment (ratified 1868) already provides that former slave-holders will not be compensated for the alleged “loss” of their “property, and by adhering to the 13th Amemdment language, the Abolition Amendment makes clear the continued applicability of this portion of the 14th Amendment
  • TAPPING INTO EXISTING PRECEDENTS: legal precedents based on the 13th Amendment will be more easily applied to cases involving the Abolition Amendment if the language used is identical; in other words, by re-using this language, the modern abolition movement taps into the power of 100+ years of existing case law interpreting this language
  • RATIFICATION PROCESS:  the political process of getting a Constitutional amendment ratified is very difficult; by re-using language that is already in the Constitution, the modern abolition movement minimizes the number of arguments available to pro-violence, pro-exploitation advocates; in other words, there’s simply a lot less to argue about than there would be if new language were used

These reasons represent some of the many benefits of keeping the text of the Abolition Amendment close to the relevant portions of the text of the 13th Amendment.

13th Amendment - logo by Chris Censullo

13th Amendment – logo by Chris Censullo

Why didn’t the Humane Party stick with “the Vegan Party” as its formal name?

During the earliest days of the entity now called the Humane Party, this organization had three alternate names: the “Vegan Party”, the “Abolition Party”, and the “Humane Party”.  All three of these names are now, always have been, and always will be accurate ways to refer to the Humane Party.

For example, the Humane Party is indeed the Vegan Party, because it is the first (and currently only) U.S. political party that requires all candidates, officers, and board members to be vegan. Moreover, the Humane party is indeed the Abolition Party, because it is the first (and currently only) U.S. political party committed to abolition of slavery.

Notwithstanding the accuracy of all three names, the Humane Party eventually chose the “Humane Party” name as its formal name because the word “humane” encompasses many concerns that fall outside of the commonly understood scope of the word “vegan” or the word “abolition”. For instance, the Humane Party’s leadership in areas such as civil rights, health care, economic development, and national security falls more comfortably within the generally recognized ambit of the word “humane” than that of the other two choices.

"I'm vegan, and I vote!" image from 2009

“I’m vegan, and I vote!” image from 2009

What is the “Violence Is Not Entertainment” (VINE) Act?

The “Violence Is Not Entertainment” (VINE) Act is a proposed update of U.S. intellectual property law.  Under the VINE Act, animal abusers can no longer establish, maintain, or enforce intellectual property (“IP”) rights in material that includes abuse of a live animal.

The VINE Act directly impacts two bodies of IP law at the federal level—copyright and trademark—and serves as a model for analogous legislation at the state level.  Drafting of a separate act abolishing patent eligibility for animal-abuse methods and devices is also underway.

COPYRIGHT

Materials described in 17 U.S.C. 102—such as still photographs, video recordings, or audio recordings—will be excluded from copyright eligibility if those materials record acts of animal abuse.  For example, property rights under U.S. law no longer attach to materials recording bullfights, dogfights, cockfights, horse races, dog races, animal sacrifices, vivisection, bestiality, or rodeo events, regardless of where those materials are recorded.

This portion of the VINE Act depropertizes only those materials that visibly or audibly record abuse of an actual, living animal.  For example, illustrations, animations, and computer-generated simulations of animal abuse are unaffected by the VINE Act.

TRADEMARK / SERVICE MARK

Marks for goods and services that necessarily require death or mutilation will no longer be registrable with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), and such marks that have already been registered will no longer be recognized as property under U.S. law.  For example, the USPTO no longer grants, renews, or otherwise recognizes registration of marks wherein the identified goods include dead body parts, such as fur, skin, bone, ivory, or muscle tissue.

The VINE Act does not restrict, encumber, or otherwise affect the creation, financing, production, possession, reproduction, distribution, transmission, hosting, storing, advertising, marketing, publication, sale, rental, loan, display, viewing, or consumption of animal-abuse materials. Rather, the VINE Act merely withdraws Congress-created intellectual property status from such materials.  Therefore, free speech rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are unaffected by the VINE Act.

An initial draft of the VINE Act will be published for public comments and editorial suggestions later in 2016.  Suggestions received from the public during the public-comment period will be reviewed, and the text of the VINE Act will be revised to incorporate such suggestions as appropriate.

Manumission | What does “manumission” mean?

Manumission

What does the word “manumission” mean?

The word “manumission” denotes the voluntary freeing of a slave by a slaveholder.  Unlike abolition—an event which happens to an entire legal system—manumission is an event that happens in a specific case, namely, that of a particular, living creature (an “owner”*) releasing another particular, living creature (a “slave”) from slavery.

Example:  Jane, a slaveholder, is the “owner” of Bill, a slave who is “owned” by Jane; one day, Jane decides to—and does—release Bill such that Bill is, thereafter, neither a slave of Jane nor a slave of anyone else.  That event—the freeing of Bill by Jane—is manumission.

Note that manumission permanently changes the status of the freed slave from property to personhood.  If a slaveholder merely sells a slave to another slaveholder, the slave remains a slave, and manumission has not occurred.

Note also that if a slave is freed by abolition of the institution of slavery itself within the given jurisdiction, the slave’s status changes to that of a free being, but manumission has not occurred, because the “owner” himself or herself did not willingly free the slave. Rather, the freeing of the slave was forced upon the “owner”.

See also, The Humane Herald, Distinguishing Abolition, Emancipation, and Manumission

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*The Humane Party does not recognize “ownership” of one living creature by another as a valid legal relationship.  All purported cases of one sentient being’s “ownership” of another sentient being are, in fact, merely cases of coercion, oppression, and captivity.

Manumission

Manumission

What does “abolition” mean?

Abolition

What does “abolition” mean?

The word “abolition” denotes a legal event, specifically, the formal ending of the legal institution of slavery itself.  This formal ending renders slavery a legal impossibility within the given jurisdiction, i.e., “abolishes” slavery.  In other words, abolition makes it legally impossible for one sentient being to “own” another sentient being.

Example:  Before abolition, Country X’s legal system allows slavery; after abolition, Country X’s legal system does not allow slavery.

Abolition is achieved through the law-making process established by the given sovereign.

Note:  Since abolition is a legal event, abolition does not happen to an individual, living creature.  Rather, abolition happens to a legal system.  But, of course, abolition directly affects all living creatures who are freed from slavery by this legal event.

See also, The Humane Herald, Distinguishing Abolition, Emancipation, and Manumission

What are the primary effects and impact of the Abolition Amendment?

The specific language of the first draft of the Abolition Amendment was subject to public commentary through Jan. 25, 2016, and the second draft was subject to public comment through March 31, 2016.  While the final wording of the Abolition Amendment—scheduled for publication on Abolition Day, 2016—may differ from these drafts, here are some general comments.

Some effects of the Abolition Amendment are the same as those of the APE Amendment (final draft published Dec. 6, 2015) and the 13th Amendment (ratified Dec. 6, 1865), which forbid primate slavery and human slavery, respectively.

The key distinction between the Abolition Amendment and these prior amendments is that the Abolition Amendment abolishes the property status of any and all animals—not just that of humans or primates.  In so doing, the Abolition Amendment puts an immediate end to all remaining animal-killing-based and exploitation-based industries, including:

  • meat
  • fish
  • poultry
  • dairy, veal
  • eggs
  • leather
  • fur
  • rodeos
  • vivisection (“animal testing”)

Removing these inherently violent and oppressive industries and practices from our nation represents the culmination of a political movement toward freedom and liberty that began more than 200 years ago in the United States.  Abolition also ushers in a new day of economic prosperity, national security, and environmental recovery.