Sex with animals will be banned in Germany, pending a controversial law change. Following a campaign from animal rights groups, the government has decided that bestiality (zoophilia) "forces animals to behave in ways that inappropriate to their species," according to Agriculture Committee Chairman Hans-Michael Goldmann.
Germany is one of the last European countries to tolerate the practice, which has been legal since 1969. It hosts a thriving zoophile community, which has reacted angrily to the law change.
"There are already laws against hurting an animal, but there is no harm from what we do," Michael Kiok, head of the Zoophile Engagement for Tolerance and Information (ZETA) group, told Metro. "Animals can show if they want to have sex or not, as they can show if they are hungry or want to exercise."
Kiok, who is in a relationship with his Alsatian dog, claims to represent thousands of zoophiles and says they will campaign to stop the law. "We want to inform the public that we are not cruel, we see animals as equal to people, and we want to stop the hate."
However, animal rights groups claim the practice is out of control. "The issue has become so public and inhibitions fall," Astrid Behr, head of the German Association of Veterinarians, told Metro, indicating the growth of popular websites and forums, although she could not confirm the existence of rumored ‘pet brothels'.
Behr denies that bestiality would be a victimless crime: "Perpetrators go unpunished, but sexual acts with animals are always associated with great physical and psychological injury."
The amendment is expected to be finalized in December, and offenders could face a 25,000 Euro fine.
Q+A with Michael Kiok, 52, librarian and head of ZETAs
Q: You claim to defend consensual sex with animals – how can they consent?
A: It’s simple. If you know your pet, you can know if it wants to have sex or not. Animals can communicate their needs.
Q: How can you have a relationship with an animal?
A: You can't go out for dinner together! It's like a normal relationship with a pet where you look after it but the difference is that you regard the animal as on the same level and you don’t want to dominate.
Q: How do you cope with the abuse?
A: People come from all over Germany to protest at my house, and there is a lot of hate on the Internet. I try to understand why – I think it is because people see animals as children. There is a lot of pressure, many zoophiles have depression or even commit suicide. But I have never been attracted to people and my situation now (with Alsatian Cessy) is the best possible.
Still legal in…
Denmark – The government resisted a 2006 campaign to ban bestiality.
Sweden – The Animal Welfare Agency wants to update abuse laws but is not calling for a ban.
Thailand – No laws on bestiality but you can be fined for “subduing a female dog”.