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
  • 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


Manumission | What does “manumission” mean?


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”.

*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.



What does “abolition” mean?


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.


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.

What is the Abolition Amendment?

The Abolition Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution.  Upon ratification, the Abolition Amendment will abolish slavery with respect to all animals, thereby putting an immediate end to the meat, dairy, egg, and other exploitation- and killing-based industries.  In so doing, the Abolition Amendment represents the fruit of decades of labor by animal rights activists, environmentalists, and vegan advocates in the U.S.

The final version of the Abolition Amendment was published on Abolition Day, December 6, 2016.  The full text of the Abolition Amendment appears in the following image.

Abolition Amendment | Final Draft | December 6 2016

Abolition Amendment | Final Draft | December 6 2016

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

The primary effects and impact of the American Primate Emancipation Amendment (or APE Amendment) are those of:

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.

APE Amendment

APE Amendment

Is the Humane Party abolitionist?

Yes.  The Humane Party platform calls for abolishing the property status of all animals throughout the United States of America.  The HP developed the Abolition Amendment, a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution, for this very reason and created Aboliton Day (December 6) to promote abolition.

Here is the relevant excerpt from the Humane Party platform (2014 edition):

RESOLVED that appropriate legislation be enacted and appropriate governmental action taken so as to:

  • end inhumane, scientifically indefensible, and economically unsound exploitation of other species by humans, such legislation and action including but not limited to:

    1. elimination of both domestic and foreign trade in sentient beings, regardless of species;
    2. elimination of torture, mutilation, and slaughter of such beings;
    3. elimination of both domestic and foreign trade in products resulting from or obtained by way of such exploitation, such products including dead body parts of animals and live animal secretions; and
    4. elimination of services that include or are provided by way of such exploitation, such services including experiments performed on live animals and entertainment events that include live animals.
  • abolish the property status of (“emancipate”) other animals by either:

    1. explicitly recognizing all other animals as fully protected individuals under the 13th Amendment prohibition of slavery; or
    2. ratifying a new Constitutional amendment emancipating all other animals.

~ The Humane Party Platform

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

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

What is the APE Amendment?

APE Amendment image by Christopher Censullo

APE Amendment image by Christopher Censullo

The American Primate Emancipation Amendment—or simply the “APE” Amendment, for short—is a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The effect of the APE Amendment is to:

  • abolish slavery with respect to all primates in the United States of America
  • recognize habeas corpus mechanism for protecting the rights of all primates
  • recognize guardian ad litem mechanism for protecting the rights of all primates
  • eliminate the 13th Amendment’s exception for criminal cases

The text of the APE Amendment is modeled on that of the 13th Amendment. After years of development by the Humane Party legal team, versions of the APE Amendment text were subjected to three separate periods for public comment during 2015. After all public comments had been reviewed and final revisions made, the final version of the APE Amendment was signed into its current form by Clifton Roberts, then serving as Chief Executive Officer of the Humane Party, on October 19, 2015.

The final text of the APE Amendment was published on the first annual American Abolition Day, December 6, 2015.

The full text of the American Primate Emancipation Amendment reads as follows:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude of any primate shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall be available to ensure the rights of all primates.
Section 3. Every primate who does not have a guardian shall be provided a guardian ad litem when necessary to protect the primate’s rights.
Section 4. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.