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    Germany moves to ban bestiality
    German parliament expected to vote on law prohibiting sexual relations with animals

    Berlin is reportedly close to passing a law explicitly banning bestiality, Ynet has learned.


    The legislation campaign against zoophilia was launched after animal rights groups and tabloid newspapers pushed for existing legislation to be clarified.


    Germany legalized bestiality in 1969, except when the animal suffered "significant harm."


    Max Lehmer, a lawmaker with Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition said that the ban would make sex with animals punishable with a fine.


    The amendment states that anyone committing "actions alien to the species of any animal" could face a fine of up to €25,000.


    A vote on the matter is expected in the Bundestag in late December.


    Politicians took up the issue after it became clear a law banning cruelty to animals was not specific enough to prohibit the practice explicitly.


    Berlin tabloid BZ started the debate in October, featuring a front-page photo of a man holding his dog with the headline "we call it sodomy, he calls it love."


    Top-selling Bild, from the same publisher, then took up the cause as well.


    According to the BBC, animal rights groups have campaigned for a change in the law for a while now. Hans-Michael Goldmann, the head of the parliamentary committee investigating the now titled "zoophilia amendment," told Berlin's Tageszeitung newspaper that the new legislation aims to "clarify" the current legal position.


    "With this explicit ban, it will be easier to impose penalties and to improve animal protection," he said.


    But not all are in agreement: Michael Kiok, chairman of the pressure group Zoophile Engagement for Tolerance and Information (Zeta), said his group would fight the amendment.


    "It is unthinkable that any sexual act with an animal is punished without proof that the animal has come to any harm," he said.


    According to Kiok "Animals are capable of showing what they do, or do not, want to do.


    "We see animals as partners and not as a means of gratification. We don't force them to do anything. Animals are much easier to understand than women."


    Zoophilia is illegal in most European countries, including the Netherlands, France and Switzerland; but is permissible in Belgium, Denmark and Sweden, though Stockholm is said to be considering illegalizing the practice.


    Zoophilia is illegal in the UK as well. In 2003 the UK amended its anti-Bestiality law, reduced the maximum sentence from life imprisonment to two years.




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    The Bundestag (Archives)
    Photo: AFP