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Animals Finally above Objects and Stricter Criminalization of Cruelty: Some Insights in Czech Animal Legislation

2012.03.07

AUTHOR: Hana Mülerová,Institute of State and Law of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague.
TITLE: Animals Finally above Objects and Stricter Criminalization of Cruelty: Some Insights in Czech Animal Legislation

PUBLICATION DATE: 2012
PUBLCIATION PLACE: dA web Center, March 2012.

ABSTRACT

The legal protection of animals of the Czech Republic has its roots as far back as in early 20th century with the first anti-cruelty provisions of the then Czechoslovakia. Nevertheless, the 40-years long communist regime, which lasted until 1989, brought discontinuance in all the law system including animal protection. Thus, completely new animal protection legislation came during the first decade of building a democratic legal system, which was at the same time the decade of preparing our country to the European Union accession in 2004. Today, the legal background of animal protection in the Czech Republic is of a high standard; however, there are minor legislative and administrative imperfections that cause application problems and lower the effectiveness of the animal protection. Initially, this paper introduces basic features of the current Czech animal protection legislation and draws attention to the new Czech legal status of non-human animals. However, the main target of the author is to give a detailed picture of the Czech anti-cruelty legislation; the survey is supported by a short insight in rules of handling stray animals to illustrate the Czech legal approach to companion animals’ protection.

From 2014, animals will no longer be objects in legal sense in the Czech Republic. Thanks to the new Czech Civil Code, approved in February 2012 and coming in force in two years, the Czech Republic has finally joined the countries that had already reflected in law the ongoing ethical shift of human relations to other living beings that are also capable to experience pain and suffering. The new legal status of animals will apply not only within the civil law, but throughout the whole Czech legal system. What is more, it will cover not only vertebrates, but all non-human animals.

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