The Constitutional Court of Colombia prohibits sport fishing as they considered it a form of animal mistreatment. The Court’s argument is that sport fishing is a form of animal abuse, despite the fact that the Court says that in science there is no consensus on whether fish are animals that “feel” reports El Espectador. Conversely, FullAvanteNews assures that “Fish do feel pain, given that fish have neurons known as nociceptors, which detect potential harm, such as high temperatures, intense pressure, and caustic chemicals.” Further’ summarized research on this topic can be found in the article It’s Official: Fish Feel Pain published by the Smithsonian Magazine.
Sportfishing cannot be carried out in Colombia. The Constitutional Court struck down the rules that regulated this practice, which consists of attracting, capturing, and then releasing fish. In the opinion of the Plenary Chamber, this activity could be considered animal abuse, which knocked down an article of law and another of a decree-law, although the effects of the sentence will only be final in one year.
The Constitutional Court concluded that fishing can be artisanal, industrial, subsistence, scientific, controlled, or for development purposes. But not sports. The high court reached that conclusion with a presentation by Judge Diana Fajardo that focused on two arguments: on the one hand, this practice goes against what lawyers call the precautionary principle. And, on the other hand, that could be considered a form of mistreatment, which is prohibited.
“Although there is no consensus as to whether fish are sentient beings, the truth is that by virtue of the precautionary principle, according to which, even in the absence of scientific certainty regarding damage or its magnitude, when there are elements that preliminarily allow demonstrating the risk of damage to the environment produced by a certain activity, the intervention of the State is necessary in order to avoid the degradation of the environment, “explained the Court in a statement in which it made known the decision.
He immediately added that there is no scientific consensus on the dangers or negative consequences that sport fishing can bring. However, “there is relevant scientific information that requires avoiding harmful impacts on these beings and their environment.” That is, it is necessary to apply the precautionary principle.
And, on the argument according to which sport fishing can be considered a form of animal abuse, the Court explained: “the recreational purpose of sport fishing violates the prohibition of animal abuse derived from the environmental protection mandates and does not have support in the exceptions to animal abuse constitutionally guaranteed for religious, food, cultural or scientific reasons.
Judge José Fernando Reyes, who voted in favor of the ruling, felt that the ruling languished on a key issue: “the concept of sentience in fish, when the fishing activity is due exclusively to reasons of leisure, tourism, recreation, entertainment or recreation”. Judge Antonio José Lizarazo shared that vision, because, according to his clarification of the vote, the ruling should not have equated sport fishing with sport hunting, since in science there is no consensus on whether fish feel.
Judge Jorge Enrique Ibáñez was one of those who gave his yes to the ruling but clarified his vote. In his clarification, he threw a taunt at his colleagues who endorsed the decriminalization of abortion until week 24. “More and more the rights of animals are protected and protected and correlatively the rights of the human species that is yet to be born,” said Judge Ibáñez.
Judge Cristina Pardo launched a similar taunt. She opposed the ruling project presented by Fajardo and, in saving her vote, she was even harsher with her colleagues. According to Pardo, this sentence on sport fishing, “ends up granting greater protection to animal life than to the life of human beings conceived unborn, even in the case of those with a gestation period close to 24 weeks, which contradicts the constitutional principle of human dignity.
Source: Judicial Drafting, El Espectador