Animals as objects of civil rights: current issues

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The relevance of the research is based on the heated discussion that has unfolded in recent years in connection with changes of the current legislation on legal regime of animals as objects of civil rights as well as awkward suggestions aimed at essentially reshaping the civilistic concept of animals and establishing their special legal status by recognizing them, albeit with some restrictions, as subjects of legal rights. The purpose is to analyze the genesis of animals’ legislation, including but not limited to international legislation, and to reveal the social significance of norms governing the conditions and procedure for acquisition of animals and the limits and principles of their treatment. The article also aims at voicing the authors’ position on participation in the civil circulation of animals. Research methods applied in the work are as follows: formal-legal, dialectical unity, system analysis, interpretation, modeling, and forecasting. The results of the study (conclusions) are realized in proposing to supplement Art. 128 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation with a new term property as basic in relation to terms things, other property, and property rights. It is also recommended to expand the range of objects of civil rights by identifying animals as an independent object, clarify the revision of Art. 137 of the Civil Code, presenting in it the definition of an animal as an object of civil rights and reflecting the main criterion for classifying animals (turnover). In addition, a judgment was made on changes in Russian legislation introduced in 2020, including the Law On the Animal World, allowing amateur and sports hunting of animals in semi-free conditions and artificially created habitat. This law clearly contradicts international agreements that allow hunting (capture) of animals only for the maintenance of human livelihood.

About the authors

Valentina N. Sinelnikova

National Research University Higher School of Economics (NRU HSE)

Author for correspondence.

Doctor of Legal Sciences, Professor of the Department of Civil and Entrepreneurial Law

20 Myasnitskaya str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Oleg A. Khatuntsev

Moscow Institute of International Business Turo


Doctor of Legal Sciences, Rector

20 / 1 Podsosenskiy pereulok, Moscow, 105062, Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2021 Sinelnikova V.N., Khatuntsev O.A.

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