Jill Stein's Tweet About Harambe Highlights A Little-Known Green Party Policy

The Green Party is synonymous with environmental protections, but the full extent of that commitment is much deeper than most people realize. On Sunday, the party's presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, tweeted about Harambe, the gorilla who was killed at the Cincinnati Zoo earlier this year, and emphasized a little known fact about the party's platform in the process. The Green Party supports the abolition of zoos and aquariums, claiming that they violate animals' inherent rights as living beings.

"The killing of Harambe 3 months ago today reminds us to be a voice for the voiceless," Stein tweeted, accompanied by a picture of the gorilla and a link to a longer statement. "Harambe was killed by a zoo which raises revenues by selling tickets to see captive animals, including primates," read the statement. "While good emergency staff training might have prevented such a catastrophic outcome, the Green Party believes that captivity for such entertainment is ethically wrong and fundamentally exploitive and should be illegal."

Animal rights have been a big focus for the party at large this year. The party's National Committee passed an historic proposition to create an animal rights committee in March, the first of any political party in history according to VegNews.com. Shortly thereafter, the Green Party released a statement in response to Harambe's death, condemning the institution of zoos and stating that keeping animals in captivity is an antiquated legal practice that needs to be changed. Read a portion of the statement below:

The killing of Harambe exemplifies the ethical and legal crisis of captivity.... Had he not been held captive in this capacity, he would not have been shot to death and a child would not have been at risk (whether the risk was real or exaggerated)... Because the Green Party believes that animal captivity for entertainment is ethically wrong and fundamentally exploitive, it should be prohibited. Non human primates should have the legal right to live freely or in sanctuaries only for medical rehabilitation or ecological assistance for endangered species, except when there are compelling reasons for captivity, such as a necessary species-survival plan.

There is a slight inconsistency between the party's public statements and its official platform. The platform does not specifically state that the party will work towards banning zoos and aquariums, simply that the party wants to "ban the exploitation of animals in violent entertainment and sports," according to the platform's subsection on the ethical treatment of animals. Judging from how adamantly the party and its leader have advocated for the abolition of zoos this year, that language may make its way into the official platform at the next national convention.

Although Stein is currently far behind in the polls, her commentary on this undying meme should give her some attention that will send her numbers spiking. But it seems that her commitment to animal rights is more than just a political move, it's a deeply held belief that holds its own against the rest of her progressive ideals.