Is the animal a subject of law, a person or a thing?

The legal status of the animal has been modernized so that it can enjoy rights both in the wild state, that is to say in its natural environment, and as a domestic animal or animal. ‘breeding. Despite this, it is still a long way from being able to benefit from other rights than those attributed to movable property. Let’s take stock of the animal’s status at the moment.

What is the legal regime for animals in France?

It was at Unesco House in 1978, on October 15 to be precise, that the animal rights bill. In 2015, the Civil Code specifies by article 515-14 that “ animals are sentient beings “. Thus animals are no longer “things”, but indeed living beings in their own right. The fact remains that today, the animal is despite everything considered as “movable property” by French law since ” subject to the rights that protect them, animals remain subject to the property regime “.

The current regime seems quite confusing and the animals are not getting all the consistency that they want. But should it be included in the category of “persons” knowing that the law already distinguishes natural persons from legal persons?

To answer this problem, two research professors from the Faculty of Law of Toulon proposed that a category of legal figures be created, namely “non-human persons”, and if it could take shape, it would at the same time make it possible to differentiate at the level of French law between humans and pets first of all, wild animals should subsequently be the subject of another proposal in order to benefit from a more coherent legal regime.

So in any case, animals would have more rights that they do not have for the moment and consequently, they could not be subjected any more to the regime of the goods… All the people, foundations and other associations which support the animal cause expect a lot of this ” Toulon Declaration Of March 29, 2019, the two co-authors of which are Caroline Regad, Senior Lecturer in HDR specializing in legal anthropology, and Cédric Riot, lawyer and teacher-researcher specializing in private law.

But since when are animals “movable property”?

This legal status dates from Napoleon ! Indeed, the eponymous code 1804, by its article 528, stipulates that ” animals are furniture by nature »… It seems incredible that we are still at this stage today, and it is certain that it is high time to dust off our legislation. Of course, since 1804 we have modernized somewhat the status of animals, but to take stock of all the provisions planned against them, it is necessary to search among different Codes: rural and maritime fishing, civil, penal, general of local authorities and even that of public health.

We know of course that we can no longer mistreat, kill or stuff an animal for example, that ” all animal life has the right to respect “And that even” a dead animal should be treated with decency “. It is also forbidden to deprive a wild animal of its freedom for a prolonged period because ” he has the right to live free in his natural environment and to reproduce there ». sanctions are planned against anyone who breaks the law. But you should also know that article 9 of the Declaration of the Rights of the Animal states: ” the legal personality of the animal and its rights must be recognized by law “.

Anyway, in case of divorce, the fate of a dog, a cat, a chicken farm or a chameleon – each being torn from one master to another – is not easy to imagine since the animal is beautiful and still considered as a movable good, whether domestic, breeding or wild. It is therefore integrated into heritage. So the matrimonial regime having a very strong influence on the court decision, the former spouses can be designated joint owners of their animal (their animals), joint owners, or else one or the other can be the sole owner. In fine, the interpretation of the legal status of the animal by the judge is far from easy …

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