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.
The Humane Party chose to separate the remainder of the abolition process into two different Constitutional amendments—namely, the APE Amendment and the Abolition Amendment—in order to accomplish the ultimate goal—abolition—as fast as possible.
Specifically, the APE Amendment breaks, for the first time in U.S. history, the species barrier to legal standing (often called “rights” or “personhood”). This speciesist barrier is formidable: it has endured for thousands of years in all human cultures all around the world. By being limited in scope to those species to which humans are most recently related, the APE Amendment is optimized to break this psychological and philosophical barrier immediately. This amendment represents the very cutting edge of the modern abolitionist movement.
Once the species barrier has been overcome through the APE Amendment, the road to emancipation of all other animals by way of the Abolition Amendment will be clear.
Thus, in the Humane Party’s estimation, the two-step process described above will produce the desired result—abolition of slavery for all species—faster than would a single-step process.
American Abolition Day—or just “Abolition Day”, for short—is a national celebration to be observed annually on December 6. Abolition Day was created by the Humane Party for the two-fold purpose described below. Years in the making, Abolition Day was first formally celebrated in 2015.
The purpose of Abolition Day is two-fold:
1. Honoring the Past. The first purpose of Abolition Day is to commemorate the success of the proto-abolitionist movement in the United States of America, which movement culminated in ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on December 6, 1865. Ratification of the 13th Amendment, which ended human slavery in the U.S., represents the single most important moment in the history of civil rights in the U.S. since ratification of the Bill of Rights. The annual date of Abolition Day was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of this pivotal moment.
2. Brightening the Future. The second purpose of Abolition Day is to promote completion of the process of abolition so as to end slavery with respect to all other species within the jurisdiction of the United States. Specifically, Abolition Day serves to promote ratification of two additional abolitionist amendments.
The Humane Party published the first of these two additional abolitionist amendments, the American Primate Emancipation (“APE”) Amendment, on December 6, 2015. The APE Amendment, when ratified, will emancipate all other primates within the jurisdiction of the United States. The Humane Party is scheduled to publish the final text of the second additional abolitionist amendment, called simply the Abolition Amendment, on Abolition Day, 2016. The Abolition Amendment, when ratified, will emancipate all other animals within the jurisdiction of the United States.