Thursday 01 November 2012 | QLife | Source: Live in Costa Rica Blog
On December 1, 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica abolished the country’s military after victory in the civil war in that year. In 1949, the official abolition of the military was introduced in Article 12 of the Costa Rican Constitution.
The budget previously dedicated to the military now is dedicated to security, education and culture. This is quite an accomplishment when one looks at the turmoil in the rest of the world. In 1986, President Oscar Arias Sánchez declared December 1st as the Día de la Abolición del Ejército (Military Abolition Day).
As a direct result, Costa Rica, unlike its neighbors, has not endured a civil war since 1948. For this very reason the country is the headquarters for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the United Nations’ University for Peace.
Recently, Costa Rica’s legislature gave the initial approval to a bill that would ban sports hunting (la caza deportiva) in the country. What is significant is that the bill was initiated by citizens who gathered 177,000 signatures and thus reflects the will of the people.
This new law also sets up a tax and a wildlife fund to help animals. The tax is to be about $7. It will be assessed on all vehicles when owners renew their registration and also when a registration is issued the first time. It will also be levied when a construction permit is issued and when a property owner pays taxes to a municipality.
Fines of up to $3,000 will be imposed on those who violate this law. It also includes fines for those of traffic wild animals. Sadly, some poaching (la caza furtiva) does exist but hopefully it will be reduced with these measures.
The law also includes controlling and monitoring of the population of wild animals and in some cases permits hunting to control animal over population but only after the appropriate studies have been made.
Costa Rica is not and has never been a major sports hunting destination, and the bill still allows what is called subsistence hunting by those who do so for food.
As a result of this bill Costa Rica will become the first country in the world to prohibit hunting as sport. As one local animal advocate put it, “Hopefully humans will evolve to the point where they don’t need to kill animals, senselessly. There is no need to maim and slaughter innocent animals for sport.”
Traditionally Costa Rica has taken steps to protect its citizens from the ravages and devastation of war, now its people have taken steps to protect the indiscriminate slaughter and trafficking of its wildlife.