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Are Corpses and Animals property(res/thing)?

kedi, hukuk, hayvan hakları, eşya, ceset
Sevimli kedi Murphy ders çalışıyor.

"A part of the human soul does not awaken until it tastes the love of animals. ''

Property, whether or not they have an economic value within the legal order, are certain physical assets that do not have personal characteristics and on which actual and legal authority can be established. The question of whether the animal and the corpse are property is likewise raised by this definition. The doctrine contains a wide range of opinions on these subjects. If we first consider the varying perspectives on whether or not the animal is property;

  • The opinion that gives personality to the animal

  • The view that considers the animal to be similar to a person

  • The view that considers animals as property (accepted in Turkish law)

The idea that gives animals individuality was inspired by the realization that they may experience pain and sorrow. Based on the perception of pain, those who support this viewpoint contend that animals should be recognized as subjects of the legal system on par with people and as having equal rights. One of the flaws in this argument is that if we consider animals as subjects of the legal system, then they ought to have both rights and obligations at the same time. But which animal may we regard to have debts from this perspective?

The perspective that sees an animal as property; it has its roots in Roman law and treats animals as movable property. Additionally, it places obligations on individuals to safeguard animals and refrain from torturing them, and it penalizes actions that run counter to these concerns. In case of accepting animals as absolutely property, it is also possible to benefit from them, to use them, to sell them, etc., or to remove them from their assets by a material or legal disposition. In addition to owned animals, there are a lot of stray animals in the globe; the unlimited right of these animals to property will bring about the end of both mankind and the world. From this vantage point, including animals completely in the category of property creates a number of unsolvable issues.

Finally, the predominant view adopted in the doctrine that considers the animal to be similar to the person; it reveals that animals should be given a special legal personality. This point of view supports for the protection of animals, arguing that they should be treated as legal subjects with exclusive rights, but that this protection should never take the form of giving animals personalities by equating them to people. It seems plausible to adopt this point of view because, given certain constraints, it is quite logical, legally applicable, and does not violate other rights.

Another issue is the debate on whether the corpse is a property or not.

There are many opinions in the doctrine on this issue as well. While those who look at it from a material point of view accept the corpse as property, the academics who deal with the subject from a spiritual and religious point of view accept that the corpse is not property. According to the people in the second group, reducing the corpse to an object undermines moral and religious values. The prevailing view in the doctrine is that the corpse is considered to be property. This view asserts that since the personality ends in death, it is impossible for the deceased to lay claim to corpse.

The fact that the relatives of the deceased have rights over the corpse within the framework of the rules of law and morality and that the rules regarding burial must be obeyed shows that we cannot accept the corpse as an ordinary property such as a pen or table in our society. As a result, although the corpse cannot be deemed to be exactly property, it comes near to being property when its nature is taken into account.

In my opinion, it is not possible to regard the corpse as absolutely property nor to state that it is not entirely property. Thus, considering the value of the corpse in terms of both society and law, it would be appropriate to include a separate regulation in the current legislation.

Law No. 5199 on the Protection of Animals

Previously, under the Misdemeanor Law, offenses against animals were penalized with fines that were not deterrent because animals were classified as "property" under the law. In fact, for a very long time, the public criticized the pre-amendment regulation's lack of a deterrent effect on penalties, the attribution of property to animals, and the ineffectiveness of preventive measures. As a consequence, legislative changes involving improvements to animal rights have become inevitable. In this direction, as a result of recent studies, various amendments have been made to the Animal Protection Law No 5199 and the Turkish Penal Code in order to ensure that animals live comfortably and they are treated well and appropriately, that animals are protected in the best way against pain, suffering and torment, and that all kinds of grievances are prevented.

For a detailed look at the amendments, take a look at the Law on Amending the Animal Protection Law and the Turkish Penal Code. The link is below.



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