San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Group of lawmakers try to block Costa Rica hunting ban

Fourteen legislators stalled the progress of the Wildlife Act by sending the bill to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court to review the act’s constitutionality.

The lawmakers – eight Libertarians, two National Liberation Party members, one Social Christian Unity Party member and one Access Without Exclusion Party member, signed the inquiry to send the bill to the Supreme Court. The Wildlife Act would ban hunting for sport in Costa Rica, the first country in the Americas to implement such a ban.

Libertarian Patricia Pérez was the only member of her party in the Legislative Assembly to not support the constitutional inquiry.

The law allows the hunting of animals only in the case of scientific research, subsistence and species control.

The bill was approved in a first-round vote by 41 lawmakers Tuesday, with only five members of the Libertarian Movement Party voting against it.

The bill set another precedent in the country, as it was proposed to the Legislative Assembly by public initiative, having garnered the signatures of 177,000 Costa Ricans. The effort was organized by local conservation group Apreflofas.

Other members of the assembly did not see the point of the constitutional review, and said the issue had been voted on and passed. The bill needs to pass a second round of debate before it can be signed by the president and published in the official government newsletter as law.

Luis Guillermo Solís, likely to be the next presidential candidate from the Citizen Action Party, said the bill’s passage “was living history … because today people organized and commanded the First Branch of the Republic.”

“The Wildlife Law is perfectible, but more importantly, it inaugurates popular initiative laws. Today, the people are sovereign. … Social organization [and] civic action are the driving force for major social changes and a fundamental asset that strengthens and improves our democracy,” he added.

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