This is an article from two friends who are professors at the Sumy National Agrarian University in the Ukraine.
Protection of animal rights: the humanization of legal regulation
Sumy National Agrarian University, Ukraine
Sumy National Agrarian University, Ukraine
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the planet has lost more than 60% of mammals, birds, fish and amphibians since 1970 due to human activities. . Why does human activity have such a destructive character? After all lately public institutions, civic organizations and ordinary citizens are increasingly proclaiming the protection of animal rights. Instead, an objective situation requires additional effort.
Ukraine became independent only in 1991, therefore, the legislative legacy of the former USSR has affected its legal culture and reality.
In general, the Ukrainian animal welfare legislation is a relatively new regulatory and regulatory framework that needs constant attention and systematization.
For Ukraine, in terms positive changes in legal regulation, the turning point was the accession to the Council of Europe and Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU (the Agreement). In accordance with Part 2 of Art. 59 of the Agreement, Ukraine has committed itself to reaching an agreement with the EU on standards for the keeping and handling of animals. Despite the fact that Ukraine is actively advancing in the issue of legal regulation of the submitted issue, unfortunately to the full orderliness is far away.
– Currently, most international legal acts in the field of animal protection are ratified by Ukraine or the ones to which Ukraine has joined:
– – European Convention for the Protection of Animals of 1987., (by the way, Ukraine has become the twenty-third country that has signed and ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Animals, adopted in 1987.)
– Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural
– legacy of 1972.,
– Convention on the Protection of Biological Diversity, 1992.
However, some important international regulations are still unratified by Ukraine :
– European Convention for the Protection of Farms Animals 1976,
– European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals Used for Experiments and Other Scientific Purposes, 1986.
Currently, the normative basis of the presented issue in Ukraine are the Constitution of Ukraine, The Civil Code of Ukraine, the Water Code of Ukraine, the Land Code of Ukraine, the Forest Code of Ukraine, Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses, Criminal Code, Laws of Ukraine “On the Protection of the Environment”, “On the Animal World”, Laws of Ukraine “On the Red Book of Ukraine”, “On Veterinary Medicine”, “On Fish, Other Aquatic Living Resources and their Food Products” “On protection of animals from cruelty”, “On hunting economy and hunting” and other normative-legal acts concerning administrative, ecological, land, civil relations in the investigated sphere. Mentioned legislation is complex because it harmoniously combines the norms of various branches of law (environmental, civil, administrative criminal, etc.); complex character has most of its normative legal acts.
Despite the volumes, the current Ukrainian legislation has many gaps, which concern the regulation of the rational use of objects of the animal world. Even more problems arise in the area of its practical implementation.
So, for example, recently at a joint meeting of The Committee on Natural Resources, Nature Protection, Environmental Law and Procedural Law Committee of the Lawyers Association of Ukraine enforcement problems and urgent problems of prosecution for cruelty to animals were discussed. Should be highlighted:
– review of real cases from the representative of the zoo movement;
– overview standards for administrative and criminal liability for animal abuse;
– possibility of seizure / confiscation of animals by a court decision in cases of threat to their life and health;
– the division of powers between the police and the court in cases of administrative responsibility;
– necessity of carrying out veterinary-judicial expertise (or any other examination) to prove the fact of cruelty, causing injury or death of animal;
– review and discussion of court practice.
Another important issue is the size and legal responsibility for the cruelty of animals. As the Director of the Kiev Ecological and Cultural Center V. Boreyko notes, «on average, a year in Ukraine is prosecuted for cruelty to animals about 16 people, while, for example, in the neighboring Moldova – 230 people. An administrative fine in Ukraine cruelty to animals ranges from $ 9 to $ 14, Albania $ 130, Bulgaria, Hungary $ 650 » .
It should be noted that raising responsibility and working out the mechanism of protection of animal rights in Ukraine is related to the state of recognition of animal rights.
At the same time, animals are considered as moral partners of a humane. The interests and needs of animals in Ukraine are protected by law. The Ukrainian Law on the Protection of Animals from Cruelty (o. 3447-IV) was adopted in 2006 with the aim of protecting animals from suffering and death as a consequence of cruel treatment, to protect animals’ natural rights, and to reinforce morality and compassionate behavior in society. The law covers farm animals, domestic animals, wild animals, animals used in research, and animals in zoos and circuses. In particular, the Law of Ukraine “On the Protection of Animals from Cruelty» (the Law) the protection of animals is carried out not only from the suffering of the nature of external interference, but also the strengthening of the morality and humanity of society, which forms an understanding of the natural rights of the creature. One of the rights that this Law protects is the protection of animals from cruelty by humans. The law prohibits forcing animals to attack one another, use poisons for their killing, beat animals, and hunt for pregnant females. At the same time, in Art. 1 The law defines the notion of humane attitude towards animals; these are actions that meet the requirements of protecting animals from Cruelty and provide for a benevolent attitude towards animals, promotion of their good, improvement of their quality of life, etc. The Law of Ukraine “On the Red Book of Ukraine” substantially complements and details the protection not only of rare species of animals but also of species of non-pathogenic organisms.
The positive moment that is a sign of time is the formation and development of science “Bio Jurisprudence”. Polish author R. Tokarchich defining the subject of this science focuses on the filling of the meaning of human life, its humanistic orientation to the problem of ethical attitude to life, which is based on the principles of bioethics . However, the main emphasis of scientific discourse is on values – human life. In return, Bioethics, although related to the human perception of the environment, includes a range of human-nature interactions.
Understanding in this context animal rights to existence and development, natural freedom and protection against suffering from human expands the opportunity of application of various legal constructions, such as “inheritance rights”, “right to care” (for example, for pets), and perhaps even the right to elect (through their guardians), “the right to genetic diversity”, “the right to a lack of responsibility before a person”, “the right to the necessary share of material goods”, “the right to protection against genetic pollution » etc.
The level of public perception of the relevant animal rights “biosystem” or “ecosystem” depends on the progress of the human community. And these efforts have different emphasis and degree of implementation in different countries. However, the civic position, the activity of the academic, volunteer environment can significantly affect the process of recognizing and consolidating animal rights. Due to these efforts, animals can become not only the object of property rights, but also the subject of law, even with limited powers.
It is necessary to agree with the proposals on the creation of additional jurisdictional institutions designed to directly protect animal rights.
In particular, the creation of the post “animal rights commissioner” may in addition attract public attention to irresponsible attitudes towards animals. For example it cans prevent openly humiliation of animals in enchanting shows that are still popular in some countries. In the future, the system of specialized courts / specialized justice, which will work on the basis of preservation of the natural fund and humane attitude to bioresources, can acquire development. Each of these positions requires consolidation of efforts, expanded discussion and broadening the discussion of the problem. As the Ukrainian priest Eugene Zapletnyuk notes, animals “should not become for us on either the next idol or on the subject of wardrobe. Everything needs a measure» . Agreeing with this thesis, we note that the organization of harmonious coexistence of all biological species deserves attention and support.
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