Sweden – famous for its flat pack furniture, meatballs and…bestiality.
Ok, many may be unaware of the latter, but will only be in January 2014 that the act of having sex with an animal in Sweden will become illegal, the government announced last week.
Until now bestiality was only illegal if cruelty to the animal could be proven and it had been subjected to suffering.
“There should be no doubt that bestiality is unacceptable,” said Minister for Rural Affairs Eskil Erlandsson.
“The government is now tightening the rules surrounding bestiality so there will be no doubt about the fact that it is prohibited to inflict suffering on animals.”
The bestiality ban brings Sweden in line with European Union directives and will be punishable by a fine and maximum two-year prison sentence.
“It’s very good that the law will be changed,” a spokesman for the Swedish Federation of Veterinarians, Johan Beck-Friis, told French media.
“It’s very important that society makes a clear statement that it is unacceptable to use animals that way.”
A similar ban was introduced in Germany last December, where bestiality had been legal since 1969, causing outcry at the time among one pro-zoophilia campaign group.
Michael Kiok, chairman of Zoophiles Commitment to Tolerance and Enlightenment, ZETA, estimated the number of zoophiles in Germany to be around 100,000 and vowed to legally challenge the ban.
“Sex is not just penetration,” he told Taz.de. “You can masturbate the animal, lick his hand or lick and leave.
“Animals are much easier to understand than, say women.”
Swedish parliament is expected to pass the bill next week with ministers unanimously behind the decision.
Beck-Frils says under the current law, vets may suspect an animal was sexually abused, but cannot prove it.
Picture courtesy of saxcubano via Flickr, with thanks