We continue the series of articles about the conclusions of the first environmental decision of the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court in the case EPL vs. “Aquadelf” Ltd.
Animals are the object of the ownership right of the people of Ukraine to natural resources, which establishes a special procedure for their paid use – as the resolution of the court states. Does this mean that animals cease to be merely things within the meaning of the civil law? Yes, this is stipulated by the peculiarities of the environmental law.
Most of us do not realize how much animals are an important element of our environment. Along with water, air, soil, they are a part of nature, which has significant impact on how our life is formed. Alas, statistics show continuous decline in biodiversity. According to the UN world water development report 2018, it was inefficient nature management that lead to the loss of earlier civilizations.1 According to the EUROPARC Federation, European environmental organization, 60% of all biodiversity has drastically declined over recent decades, and another 30% will strongly decrease further on.2 There are grounds to believe that without specific human intervention these negative processes can’t be stopped, which may mean losing life on Earth. The OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 forecasts up to 10% of losses of biological biodiversity of the planet for the period from 2010 to 2050.3
The environmental law is sufficient to prevent losses of Ukraine’s biological biodiversity. Use of animals is regulated by law. What concerns animals listed in the Red Data Book, a special procedure for their protection is applied. This is caused by the fact that all actions concerning these species of animals should have a purpose – to prevent extinction of endangered species, and to ensure preservation of their genetical fund.
A unique character of the resolution of the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court is in the fact that the court applies the current norms of the environmental law that before now have not been used by the governmental authorities being responsible for their implementation. The judgement emphasizes that animals – especially those listed in the Red Data Book – are the property of the people of Ukraine, they may be used under strict observance of the law and for relevant fee, whereas failure to abide by the law in their use leads to inevitable punishment.