Andrea Padilla on the Animal Referendum
Andrea Padilla-Villarga He is one of the senators who has raised the issue of animal protection in front of Congress the most. As a result of his struggle, Articles 31 and 42 were included in the National Development Plan. Those who create a national system for animal protection and welfare and strengthen the institutional framework to respond to abuse.
(You may be interested: Referendum to ban violence against animals in shows
Similarly, a few weeks ago for Congress Green Alliance Party submitted to the National Registry a petition for a referendum with which he intends to take to the streets the decision whether or not to repeal Article 7 of Law 84 of 1989.Which allows for bullfights, corralejos, cockfights, heifers, calves and tiantas, as well as cruel treatment of animals in coleo and rejono.
In dialogue with EL TIEMPO, Senator Padilla referred to the victories achieved in the PND, described the difficulties in getting animal initiatives from the Legislature and clarified the details of the referendum already initiated. ,It has nothing to do with the show being banned, but they have to reinvent themselves“, Said.
Last month, the Fifth Chamber commission turned down one of his projects to ban bullfighting in Colombia by a two-vote margin. Why are these initiatives not prosperous in Congress?
Five bills have been filed in Congress to ban bullfights, with one of them proposing not just a prohibition but also eliminating instruments of cruelty. None succeed, they are drowned or filed for paperwork. Ours sank by a two-vote margin after passing two discussions in the Senate. Bullfighting and the galley lobby is fierce. There are very few, but they carry the dynamics of electoral pressure. Here Galleros came to threaten the Senate, saying that if they supported a bill that initially banned – later repealed – cockfighting, they would not support electoral campaigns. were supposed. It is a fierce lobby that is stalling the initiative by a small handful of Congressmen tied to the traditional gammonal forces in the regions and who have coalitions to block it from moving forward.
Has this prompted you to seek an alternative to the referendum?
We have tried representative democracy and it has shown that it will not prosper as the Congress continues to be dominated by traditional political forces and regional factions which are preventing this debate from progressing. So that We have decided to seek direct and participatory democracy in elections to see if we can move towards that. This subject liquefies public opinion and is the affection of the new generation.
If this referendum is held, what questions will people see in it?
We propose a repeal referendum to ask the people whether they want to repeal or not Seventh Article of Law 84 of 1989Which one is that National law for the protection of animals and that today allows acts of cruelty to animals in bullfights, corleja, heifer, bullfighting, bullfighting, coleo and cockfights. The interesting thing about the question we are going to ask the people in the referendum is that it is not about banning entertainment, but about ending cruel acts.
Bullfighting and the galley lobby is fierce. There are very few, but they carry the dynamics of electoral pressure.
How is that process going?
We are waiting for the Registry to issue the Publicity Committee’s registration support. They told us that the support should come out in about 8 days. With this endorsement comes an official and immutable format for collecting signatures. We are creating a web page to have all the information on the referendum. We are going to invite all political forces to join the referendum and not to mention citizens and all social organizations.
When do you project that this can be done?
We can talk about a year and a few more months of the process, which should not extend beyond a year and a half.
How to persuade the segment of the population that still resists these changes?
Opposition to prohibition is not related to acceptance of cruelty, but to concerns about the economy and subsistence of certain segments of the population, which are legitimate. That is why we propose a change in the project and that is a complete process of population identification and participatory re-transformation is carried out in 3 years. Guarantee these people not just livelihood, but satisfactory life options.
segment of the population that’s a little more moderate, they’ll feel calmer when they understand it What we end up with here is brutality, not a show that yes, has to reinvent itself. They can fight bulls without sharp instruments and without killing the animal; They can tail, but without twisting the animal’s spine or crippling it; They can fight their cocks, but without teasing the animals and without mutilating them.
What we end up with here is cruelty, not the show, which alas, will have to restart itself.
You worked for two articles in the National Development Plan which were eventually included. What are they about?
One of the articles creates a national system for animal protection and welfare. It will be integrated by the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture, Health, Transport and DNP. This system should generate lines of action for the protection of all animals without exception, both domestic and wild. However he hung a terrifying paragraph – written by the Democratic Center – which says that the system cannot limit, prohibit or restrict activities with animals that are the result of tradition and culture, no system can restrict an activity permitted by law. Can’t do it. In any case, we are already preparing a lawsuit for unconstitutionality.
The second article we’ve received seeks to strengthen the environmental police in their fight against animal abuse. Today the police department does an impressive job, but they have no way of taking care of the animals. So we see that institutionalization through endowment should be strengthened so that it can fulfill this task.
Outside the PND, he proposed to develop a master plan for animal welfare centers in the country. What does it consist of?
We have a serious problem: There are no respectable public places to take animals caught for abuse. Also, there is no place where animals can be admitted for emergencies. There is nowhere to take them. Nor is there anywhere to take large domestic animals roaming in public, which must by law be relocated for their safety. We need animal welfare centres. What we have proposed is that they should be regional because there is no point in including 1,123 municipalities in the country when they will not be able to run them economically. Therefore, we propose that these animal welfare centers should be located in the provincial capitals by the departments.
A bill to create a sterilization program for dogs and cats recently passed its first debate. How do you feel after taking this first step?
Creating a national sterilization program for cats and dogs is the single most important action we can take to settle the nation’s historic pet debt. If the streets of Colombia are full of animals that are abused, neglected, suffering from diseases and that live in poor conditions, it is because the State has failed to create an effective and humane policy to control this birth in an ethical way. has been unable There have also been other forms of control: killings, which are morally unacceptable to society.
Therefore, the only way to responsibly and effectively control that birth rate is through sterilization. I am very happy. This shows that this agenda is already gaining a foothold in Congress and More and more Congressmen understand the importance of the state creating care pathways, allocating resources and creating quality services for animals.
How will this program work?
The program will provide free care for homeless cats and dogs. It may also be the case that they belong to vulnerable populations, recyclers, street dwellers, migrants or animals sheltered by foundations and foster homes. We are reviewing whether we handle it by socioeconomic level or by sysbane. All these animals will be taken care of without any hindrance and for this we propose to operate them through mobile surgical unit They are small trucks that have a surgical unit mounted inside the van, and that allows them to reach all the villages, because we want to give it a lot of rural importance.
What other projects are you running?
We have a package of 14 projects. We’re moving forward strongly with Angel’s Law, the project that seeks to strengthen sanctions against animal abuse, and we’re headed to another debate. we’re going to have a third debate with a bill that wants Support rescuers and foundations in the country Recognizing that there are more than 3,000 women who do rescue and conservation work with their own resources and that between them and the foundation they shelter about 29,000 animals across the country. We are therefore looking for them to be recognized as community mothers included within the national care system with support for more animals.
On the other hand, we will go into the first debate with a bill that demands change of zoos, so that all places with wild animals that have Latin American certification already exist and will have to close if they don’t comply. we are working to make bill Stamping the welfare of food of animal origin and eliminating bad practices within the livestock industry. Similarly, we conducted a bill animal experiments, All of our bills come from a public consultation exercise with the academic and institutional sectors.
Juan Pablo Penagos Ramirez
School of Multimedia Journalism EL Tiempo
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