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Title Citation Summary Type
Colombia, LEY 1774, 2016 Ley 1774 de 2016 This law modifies the Animal Protection Statute Ley 84, 1989 by modifying the Civil Code and the Criminal Code. Ley 1774 changes the status of the animals in the legal system, by declaring that all animals are ‘sentient beings’, subject to special protection against pain and suffering. The duty of animal protection, is established as a collective responsibility where the government and the citizens are required to assist and protect animals. Citizens have the duty to report when an animal is being subject to cruelty. Statute
Sentencia T-608, 2011 Sentencia T-608/11 The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) acting as the legal guardian of her husband, who had spastic quadriplegia and mixed aphasia as a result of a severe cranioencephalic trauma, against Corporación Autónoma Regional de Caldas ‘CORPOCALDAS’. The Plaintiff argued that Corpocaldas had violated the rights to health and dignified life of her husband when the Defendant confiscated a parrot that was part of the Plaintiff’s rehabilitation treatment. The Plaintiff sought immediate restitution of the parrot by the Defendant. The court affirmed the decision of the lower court to deny the Plaintiff’s petition. The court determined that the confiscation of the parrot by Corpocaldas was reasonable and according to the law, therefore there was not a violation of the rights of the Plaintiff. The court stated that as wild animals belong to the nation and they can only be reduced to property when the are obtained through legal hunting or from legal breeders. In this particular case, the Plaintiff obtained the parrot as a present from her cousin, and she did not present evidence of title. The court concluded that the bird belonged to the nation, and therefore the environmental authority had acted in accordance to its duties. The court stated that even though there was a narrow relationship between the rights to health and life with the right to environment, the protection of the environment did not only aim to the protection of humans. The court indicated that the environment should be protected whether or not it offered a benefit to the human species. The rest of the beings that are part of the environment are dignified beings that are not at the absolute and unlimited disposition of the human beings. Humans are just another element of nature, and not a superior entity that has the environment at their disposition. Therefore, the use of natural resources should not cause damage or deterioration that could threaten diversity and environmental integrity, the court stated in its reasoning. Case
Colombia, LEY 916, 2004, National bullfighting Statute. LEY 916, 2004 Ley 916, or National Bullfighting Statute, declares bullfighting as “a form of artistic expression”. This statute has national scope, and regulates everything concerning the preparation, organization and development of bullfighting, giving a status of legality in the legal system. The Taurine Statute discusses topics such as the characteristics of the bullring, the name of different areas in the ring, and their purpose. It has an extensive glossary explaining the different methods utilized during the different phases of the bullfight, procedures to weaken and kill the bull, the moves of the animal and the bullfighters. This statute defines the name of the weapons and how and when to use them. It notes requirements such as that every bullring stadium must provide medical assistance for the participants, with all least four specialized doctors in every bullfight. While on-site medical care is outlined for the human participants, no veterinarian is required to be present during the execution of the bullfight. Statute
Sentencia C-889, 2012 Sentencia C-889/12 Decision C-889 grants constitutional value to animal protection. It establishes the parameters for tradition and social roots. It limits the scope of bullfighting in the national territory. On this opportunity, the court decided on the constitutionality of Arts. 14 and 15 of the statute of Bullfighting Statute. It establishes the criteria that must be met in order for bullfighting to be legal: (1) Bullfighting has to meet the legal conditions established for public shows in general; (2) Bullfighting must meet the legal conditions established in the statute that regulates the taurine activity, Ley 916 of 2014; and (3) Bullfighting must comply with the constitutional conditions, restrictions, and limitations established in decision C-666 of 2010 to satisfy the mandate of animal welfare, animal protection, and to avoid suffering and pain. It must also satisfy social ingrain, location, opportunity, the condition of no financial funds, and exceptionality. Case
Colombia, LEY 1753 DE 2015 LEY 1753 DE 2015 This law adopts the National Development Plan for 2014-2018, denominated “All for a new country." Article 248 states: “Public policy in defense of animal rights and/or animal protection. The national government will promote public policies and governmental actions in which the rights of animals and/or animal protection are promoted and promulgated. To accomplish this goal, the national government will work in coordination with social organizations of animal defense to design policies where concepts, institutional powers, conditions, aspects, limitations and specifications on animal care regarding the reproduction, possession, adoption, production, distribution, and commercialization of domestic animals not suitable for reproduction will be established. The territorial and decentralized entities will be responsible for monitoring, controlling, and promoting respect for animals and their physical and mental integrity.” Statute
Sentencia C-283, 2014 Sentencia C-283/14 This is an unconstitutionality claim against Articles 1º, 2º and 3º of Ley 1638, 2013 that prohibit the use of native and exotic wild animals in circuses. Plaintiffs argued that these Articles violated numerous provisions of the Constitution, including the right to work, right to choose a profession, rights to culture and recreation, and a violation to the freedom private initiative of the owners of the circuses. In decision C-283, the court held that Congress has the power to prohibit certain cultural manifestations that involve animal cruelty. The Court stated that “culture needs to be permanently reevaluated so it can adapt to human evolution, to guarantee of rights and the fulfillment of duties. Especially when the purpose is to eliminate the traces of a marginalized society that has excluded certain individuals and collectives.” The court also stated that the duty to protect animals is not absolute, as its application can be limited by values, principles and constitutional norms in specific cases that are contradictory to the principales. The judge must analyze each case under a reasonableness test, in a way that cultural manifestations can work harmoniously with the rights, principles, and duties established in the legal system. The Court held Article 1 of Ley 1638, 2013 constitutional, and refrains from deciding on the constitutionality of Articles 2 and 3, for lack of evidence to render a decision. Case
Colombia, LEY 557, 2000, International Program of Dolphin Conservation LEY 557, 2000 Through Ley 557, Congress approves and adopts the international Dolphin Conservation Program signed in Washington D.C. This program covers all the area in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and was ratified by Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, European Union, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, United States, and Venezuela. The main goal of this program is to reduce dolphin mortality in the Eastern Pacific due to the tuna purse-seine fishery. Statute
Sentencia T-622, 2016 Sentencia T-622/16

This is not a judicial decision that touches on animal welfare issues. However, it is important to mention as the Constitutional Court granted for the first time the status of legal person to a river. The Plaintiff, ‘Centro de Estudios para la Justicia Social “Tierra Digna”’ brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) in representation of various community councils of the Atrato region in the Colombian Pacific against the Presidency of the Republic and others. The basin of the Atrato river covers and area of about 40,000 KM2 (15,444.086 sq mi) It is considered one of the highest water yields in the world. There are many ethnic communities that live in the adjoined municipalities that include Afro-Colombian communities, indigenous communities and mixed communities that obtain their sustenance from activities such as artisanal mining, agriculture, hunting and fishing by this river. The water of the river is also used for direct consumption. The Plaintiff alleged that the contamination of the river is a threat to the health of the communities that use the river as a source of work, recreation and to obtain food. The Plaintiffs sought that the court stop the large-scale and permanent use of illegal extraction methods of minerals such as gold and platinum. Additionally, logging that includes the use of heavy machinery and highly toxic substances such as mercury and cyanide as well as other toxic chemicals used in mining of the Atrato river. They argued that the illegal mining in the Atrato river was resulting in harmful and irreversible consequences on the environment, affecting the fundamental rights of ethnic communities that live in the area and the natural balance of the territory. For these reasons, the Plaintiffs asked the court to declare protection of the fundamental rights of the ethnic communities: life, health, water, food security, a healthy living environment, to culture and to the territory, by ordering the implementation of structural changes. The lower courts denied the action of ‘tutela’ in first and second instance, arguing that the Plaintiff sought the protection of collective rights, rather than fundamental rights. Therefore, this constitutional mechanism was not appropriate. After holding that the action of ‘tutela’ was the appropriate mechanism for the protection of the fundamental rights of the ethnic communities, the court established in its ruling that the right to water was a fundamental right, as it is a necessary component to the right to a dignified life, and it is essential for many organisms that inhabit the planet to be able to survive. The use of mercury and other toxic substances in mining activities is prohibited, regardless the legality of the activity. In a new approach, the court held that the Atrato river is subject to rights that imply its protection, conservation and maintenance and instructs the national government to be the guardian and to exercise the river’s legal representation through the president or whichever he appointed, along with the ethnic communities that inhabit the basin of the river. Thus, it guarantees the Atrato river is represented by a member of these communities and a delegate of the Colombian government.

Case
Colombia, LEY 611, 2000 Ley 611 del 2000 Ley 611, 200 regulates the usage and management of terrestrial and aquatic fauna, and their products. To accomplish this goal, this law permits such use and management to be done through direct harvest of species in their environment, or through zoo breeders of open and/or close cycle. It requires terrestrial and aquatic fauna to be used to obtain economic gain in a way that does not lead to the diminishment of the different species populations in a long term. To do so, this law requires the acquisition of operating licenses before the breeders begin their operations. Statute
Decision STL12651-2017 Decision STL12651-2017 The Labor Cassation Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice decided on an action of ‘tutela’ filed by la Fundación Botánica y Zoológica de Barranquilla, Fundazoo against the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court, Luis Domingo Gómez Maldonado, Corpocaldas and others. The Plaintiffs argued that the Defendants had violated their rights to due process and right to defense, as well as the principle of legality and contradiction, when the Defendant ordered the transfer of the spectacled bear ‘Chucho’ from the Barranquilla zoo to a natural reserve in Narino. Plaintiff sought to leave without effect Decision AHC4806 2017 that granted habeas corpus to ‘Chucho’, the spectacled bear, allowing the bear to stay at the Barranquilla Zoo, which according to Plaintiffs, is able to provide Chucho with all the requirements for his well being, including veterinary care, food, companionship and infrastructure. The Labor Chamber decided for the Plaintiff and left without effect the decision of the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court, arguing that the Civil Chamber had ruled based on norms that did not apply to the specific case, to a point that the effects of such application had resulted in an interpretation that completely deferred to what the legislative had intended. The Civil Chamber, the court said in its reasoning, wrongly applied the procedure of habeas corpus, which led to the violation of the due process of law of the Plaintiffs, as ‘Chucho’ has no legal capacity to be a party in a legal procedure. The labor chamber explained that from a constitutional view, the granting of habeas corpus for the protection of animals was not proper, as it is established to protect the right to freedom of persons, which is the basis for a society. For that reason, it can only be attributable to human beings that can be individualized. This rules out the other beings to use this mechanism, including legal persons, as it would erode the real essence of this legal mechanism, the court stated. Furthermore, the magister judge states that the legal treatment that has been given to animals corresponds to the sentients beings, which implies their protection, rather than persons. This means that humans have the responsibility to respect animals, but does not imply that animals can fight for their freedom through the mechanism of habeas corpus, in these cases the defense of animals cannot be resolved by giving them the status of persons, but rather through judicial mechanisms such as popular actions (for the protection of collective and diffuse rights and interests), or with preventive material apprehension Case

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