Ley 84 is the National Statute of Animal Protection in Colombia. Before the adoption of Ley 1774, 2016, animal cruelty was punished under the parameters laid out in this statute. Ley 84 establishes that “all the animals in the national territory enjoy special protection against suffering and pain caused directly or indirectly by humans.” The main purpose of this law is to punish and to eradicate animal cruelty. However, abusive behavior was considered a minor offense, rather than a crime and the fines established were minimum.
Ley 84 establishes the general duties of humans towards animals. Among these duties is the duty to provide animals with enough food, water and medicine to guarantee their wellbeing; the duty to provide animals with appropriate space so they can move adequately; and the duty to provide appropriate shelter. Article 7, contains the exceptions to the duty to protect animals, meaning that the practices listed in this section are legal under the current legal system even though they might be inherently cruel. This exceptions correspond to the different variations and forms of bullfighting rejoneo, coleo, las corridas de toros, novilladas, corralejas, becerradas y tientas, and cockfighting. Ley 84 also regulates the slaughter of animals for non-consumption, animals in experiments and research, animal transportation, as well as hunting and fishing, resources, penalties, legal competency and procedures to follow in regards to this law.
Article 17 defines the circumstances and the requirements for euthanization of animals. Article 17 states: “the sacrifice of an animal for non-consumption shall only be done through procedures that are not prohibited in the prior chapter of this law, and that do not entail cruelty, suffering or prolongation of the agony” and only in the circumstances set forth in this article.
Regarding the use of live animals in experiments and research, Chapter VI of Ley 84 establishes that they can only be done with prior authorization of the Ministry of Public Health, and only when such experiments and research are necessary for the advancement of science. Additionally, Ley 84 requires that there does not exist a different procedure or alternative to obtain the results sought with such experiments and research; that there is an impossibility to substitute the research and experiments with other methods; and that the research and experiments are necessary to control, prevent, diagnose, or for the treatment of diseases that affect humans or animals. “Animals must be put under anesthesia, that is strong enough to avoid pain and suffering.” Additionally, "[i]t is prohibited to carry out experiments on live animals, as a means of illustration of lectures in faculties of medicine, veterinary medicine, zootechnics, hospitals or laboratories or in any other place dedicated to learning, or for the purpose of obtaining manual dexterity.” Ley 84 also requires that an ethics committee is form for every experiment with live animals.
Chapter VII regulates the transportation of live animals. Art 27 requires those who transport live animals to “use procedures that do not involve cruelty, abuse, extreme fatigue or lack of rest, water and food for them.” In the transportation of quadrupeds, this law requires the vehicles to be of a manner that protect them from sun and rain. For the transportation of smaller animals, Article 28 provides that they must transported “in boxes or crates that have sufficient ventilation and appropriate amplitude. The construction of such crates must be solid enough to resist without deforming the weight of other boxes or objects that are placed on top of them, and should be protected from sun, rain and cold.” In addition, when animals are being transported, this law provides that in case the animals are stopped or detained “in their way or upon arrival to their destiny, due to circumstantial, incidental or administrative complications, such as strikes, lack of means, confiscation by authorities, delays in transit or delivery, the city in which jurisdiction the animals are located must provide shelter with enough space and ventilation, water and food, at the expense of the owner, recipient or transporter, as the case may be, until the overcoming of the inconveniences."