Colombia bans fishing for leisure

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.

Colombia: one step closer to banning bullfighting

On April 19 the draft law 410/2020C, which seeks to prohibit bullfighting practices in Colombia, was approved by the House of Representatives with 78 votes in favor and 17 against, representing a major step forward in the fight against bullfighting.

Unlike previous versions of the draft law, the focus of this new one is on the rights of animals and their status as subjects of special protection, through the recognition of the most basic right of all: the right to exist and not be subjected to cruel treatment.

The document was drafted with inputs from SOS Animals Colombia’s alies RAYA and the UPPAA Association (Union for Animal and Environmental Protection) and international organisations such as Animal Defenders International (ADI), which are part of the Colombia Sin Toreo Coalition, who are leading calls for the abolition of bullfighting in Colombia.

“This is only the second time in seven attempts that we have managed to get it out in two debates, so we are very happy today. We must celebrate the fact that our Congress is evolving in terms of animal rights, and recognize the important support this cause has from many lawmakers in Congress” said Juan Carlos Losada, Representative to the Chamber for Bogotá and a co-author of the project.

In addition to specifically prohibiting corridas, becerradas and corralejas, all different types of fighting practices, the draft law proposes an economic compensation for the people are involved in these activities.

The next step before the draft becomes law is to go through two more debates, one in Commission I and another in the Senate, This must be done before the end of the current session of Congress on June 20. If it doesn’t happen, the draft risks being archived and the whole process will need to start over again.

If you are in favor of prohibiting these violent practices in Colombia, do not forget to sign the petition created by the Colombia Sin Toreo coalition, which is available here