This week Colombia’s Constitutional Court banned recreational fishing for considering it an activity that violates animal protection laws. Since the Court lacks evidence of both how fish and the environment are affected by this activity it has decided to rule against fishing for leisure in the whole country.

The Court declared recreational fishing unconstitutional and pointed out that its recreational purpose violates the prohibition of animal abuse that derives from the environmental protection mandates, therefore, it is not supported by any of the exceptions.

“The superior interest of the environment also implies the protection of fauna from suffering, mistreatment and cruelty, which reflects a political moral content and awareness of the responsibility that humans must have with respect to other sentient beings”, points out the Court.

Although the Legislator and the Court consider animals to be sentient beings, the ruling affirms that there is no consensus about fish capacity to feel pain, so it acts under the precautionary principle.

This statement shows a lack of knowledge of the various scientific studies that recognize fish as sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, stress and discomfort.

In an international scenario, the European Union has recognized fish as conscious and sentient beings since 2009 in the Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) based on scientific evidence and academic literature. 

SOS Animals Colombia and its member organizations applaud the decision of the Court and support all the initiatives aimed at protecting fish and other aquatic species highly affected by the industrialization of fishing, pollution and the destruction of marine ecosystems.

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