Canada’s highest court has just ruled that some sex acts between humans and animals are legal.
In a quixotic ruling, the country’s high court ruled that a man who was on trial for raping and sexually exploiting his own daughters wasn’t guilty of “bestiality.” The man reportedly, “smeared peanut butter on the genitals of his victims and had the family dog lick it off while he videotaped the act.”
The convicted man took his case to the Canadian Supreme Court, demanding that the bestiality charge be nullified. In the end, the court agreed.
As a result of the rape case, the court ruled 7 to 1 that humans having sexual contact with animals is OK if there is no “penetration” involved in the act.
In its ruling, the court decided that the legislature had not clearly defined the terms in the country’s bestiality laws and the way the statute is written should be read to only outlaw animal penetration, whether that penetration is animal to human or vice versa.
“Although bestiality was often subsumed in terms such as sodomy or buggery, penetration was the essence — ‘the defining act’ — of the offense,” the court’s ruling states as reported by The Independent.
The high court’s lone dissenter, though, said the ruling would mean open season for the sexual exploitation of animals.
“Acts with animals that have a sexual purpose are inherently exploitative whether or not penetration occurs,” Justice Rosalie Abella wrote in her dissent.
Animal rights activist Camille Labchuk agreed with Justice Abella. “As of today, Canadian law gives animal abusers license to use animals for their own sexual gratification,” she told the paper. “This is completely unacceptable, contrary to societal expectations, and cannot be allowed to continue.”
The question is a troublesome one here in the U.S. as well, dividing liberals and serving as a watchword to conservatives.
Recently, for instance, animal rights activists in Ohio were rallying for the legislature to make it more explicit that sex between humans and animals is forbidden by state law.
In April, animal advocates were seen protesting at the state capital in Columbus to raise awareness that Ohio has no law outlawing sexual exploitation of animals after a 61-year-old man was arrested for committing sex acts with dogs.
Ohio is one of only eleven U.S. states that don’t have any bestiality laws on the books, advocates say.
The U.S. and Canada are no outliers in having a mixed record when dealing with bestiality. A recent article from the Daily Mail lamented the troubling new trend of “animal brothels” rising in Germany as many humans are claiming sex with animals is just another “lifestyle choice.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.