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Germany Says ‘Nein’ to Sex With Animals

Two unnamed complainants asked a German court to reverse a ban on animal sex. The court threw out the claim.

The second senate of the Federal Constitutional Court (L to R) Monika Hermanns, Peter Huber, Andreas Voßkuhle, Herbert Landau, Peter Mueller and Doris Koenig stand in the courtroom in Karlsruhe, southern Germany, on February 16, 2016. 
The European Central Bank defended its never-used scheme to potentially buy unlimited amounts of government debt in Germany's highest court, insisting that such a programme did not overstep its mandate. / AFP / dpa / Uli Deck / Germany OUT        (Photo credit should read ULI DECK/AFP/Getty Images)
The second senate of the Federal Constitutional Court (L to R) Monika Hermanns, Peter Huber, Andreas Voßkuhle, Herbert Landau, Peter Mueller and Doris Koenig stand in the courtroom in Karlsruhe, southern Germany, on February 16, 2016. The European Central Bank defended its never-used scheme to potentially buy unlimited amounts of government debt in Germany's highest court, insisting that such a programme did not overstep its mandate. / AFP / dpa / Uli Deck / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read ULI DECK/AFP/Getty Images)

At least two Germans were disappointed to hear Friday that yes, it is in fact still illegal to have sex with animals in Germany.

The two unnamed animal-lovers filed a claim with Germany’s constitutional court in Karlsruhe asking the court to reverse a ban on humans having sex with four-legged creatures. Both claimed the rule is unconstitutional because they are naturally sexually attracted to animals, and that the law as stands bans them from sexual self-determination.

The court wanted nothing to do with the defendants’ argument, and threw out the claim after determining animals’ safety from sexual assault trumped humans’ desires to have non-consensual sexual relations with them.

Although bestiality was — and remains — illegal in Germany, other European countries have been slow to ban the controversial practice. In 2011, a Danish Justice Ministry survey found that 17 percent of veterinarians had treated an animal they believed was forced to have sex with a human.

Last year, after reports that Denmark’s lax policies on bestiality were attracting visitors who came to the country explicitly to have sex with animals, lawmakers there finally passed a provision to ban it. Previously, it was legal so long as the animal didn’t get hurt — a clause animal rights advocates said was arbitrary because it is difficult to prove whether and how animals may have been hurt.

“Animals have to be treated with respect and care and they have a right to special protection because they cannot say no,” Denmark’s agriculture minister, Dan Jorgensen, said in a statement in 2014.

In Germany, humans who force animals to participate in “unnatural behavior” could face fines of more than $27,000. In Denmark, offenders could now face up to a year in prison, or two years if they are convicted more than once.  

Photo Credit: ULI DECK/AFP/Getty Images

Siobhán O’Grady is a freelance journalist working across sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked as a staff writer at Foreign Policy. @siobhan_ogrady

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