Colombia’s congress seeks harsher penalties for animal cruelty

Colombia’s Congress has introduced a bill to increase fines and lengthen prison sentences to more than three years in prison for animal cruelty offenses.

 AFP PHOTO/Guillermo Legaria

AFP PHOTO/Guillermo Legaria

The government’s position on a proposed bill for the stronger protection of animals in Colombia will become known during a debate at the Senate. A public audience with representatives from animal rights movements will be held so that their contributions may be heard.

The bill was written by Juan Carlos Lozada, a member of the House of Representatives, to stop citizens and the law alike from considering animals as “things.”

This year Colombia witnessed several scandals involving tortured animals in the country, including a strangled bull terrier and a butchered horse. Cases like these prompted Lozada to propose the bill.

The proposal passed unanimously through two debates at the Chamber of Representatives and was then handed to the Senate where senator Juan Manuel Galan has introduced the initiative. Galan said that the country must know the government’s official position on this matter.

Galan said that this is not just about toughening legal penalties for animal abuse but that progress must be made in Colombia’s attitude to this topic and the rights of animals as living beings must be recognized.

According to Lozada there is great support for this bill among the Colombian population which is beginning to defend the rights of animals to a greater degree. Andrea Padilla, spokesperson for AnimaNaturalis International said that official regulations need to be put in place to reinforce this progress made by the public.

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