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Title Citation Summary Type
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
Colombia, Decreto 178, 2012 Decreto 178, 2012 This decreto relates to measures for the replacement of vehicles of animal traction. The term ‘vehicle of animal traction’ is defined by the National Traffic Code, Ley 769, 2002 as a “non-motorized vehicle pulled or moved by an animal. Decreto 178, 2012, regulates and approves the substitution of the vehicles of animal traction for cargo vehicles as a way to facilitate and incentivize the development of alternatives for the drivers. Statute
Colombia, LEY 05, 1972, Boards of Animal Defense Ley 05 de 1972 This statute creates and regulates the creation of the Boards for Animal Defense. These boards, once legally constituted, become legal persons, with their main goal to raise awareness and educate the community about respect towards animals and animal protection through educational programs. Ley 5, 1972 establishes the creation of these boards as mandatory in all the municipalities in the country, as well as fines and arrest for those who are found responsible of committing cruel acts towards animals. At the same time, it establishes that the police have a duty to assist the Animal Defense Boards in the fulfillment of their goals. These boards are integrated by the Mayor or his/her delegate; the Parish Priest or his slender; the Municipal Representative or his/her delegate; a representative of the Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock of the respective Department; and a delegate chosen by the directives of the local schools. With the creation of these boards, the law seeks to promote educational campaigns that “tend to awake the spirit of love towards animals that are useful to humans and to avoid cruel acts and unjustified maltreatment and abandonment of such animals." Statute
Sentencia de Tutela Juzgado 3 de Bucaramanga de 25 de julio de 2017 Sentencia de Tutela Juzgado 3 de Bucaramanga This is the first time an animal, more specifically a dog, filed a lawsuit seeking that the government grant protection for the dog’s rights to life and health. The judge denied the action of "tutela" filed by the dog ("Negro") based on the definition of person given by the civil code. As a result, the judge concluded that "Negro" was not a person and therefore was not entitled to have rights. However, there is a possibility that the Constitutional Court on appeal will grant the plaintiff the rights he is seeking based on Decision T-622 de 2016, where the court declared that a river was subject to rights that guarantee its protection, conservation, maintenance, and restoration, and that the government was the main guarantor of these rights. Case
Colombia, Decreto 1500, 2007 Decreto 1500 de 2007 This decreto establishes the technical rules that frame the system of inspections, supervision and controls over meat processed for human consumption. These health requirements must be met at every step of the chain, from primary production to marketplaces. Article 31, lays out the requirements for the antemortem and postmortem inspection of animals in slaughterhouses. Numeral 3 of this article establishes that slaughter methods must be humane. According to this article, animals must be slaughtered through non-cruel methods. Animals have to be appropriately stunned before being slaughtered. Slaughter must be done following correct techniques, avoiding unnecessary risks for the operator and suffering of the animal. The methods utilized must be authorized by the National Institute for Drug and Food Supervision (INVIMA). This article establishes ritual religions as the only exception to humane slaughter. This process must be supervised and approved by the Invima. Statute

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