Blow to Germany’s animal lovers

Germany is a very big blip on the radar of BioEdge’s Reproductive Revolution Weirdness Watch this week. Plans by Angela Merkel’s government to ban bestiality have dragged some very odd people out of the shadows.

Ahead of a debate in the Bundestag next week, Hans-Michael Goldmann, chairman of the parliamentary agricultural committee, has declared  that animals should not be used "for personal sexual activities or made available to third parties for sexual activities… thereby forcing them to behave in ways that are inappropriate to their species".

What rubbish, says Michael Kiok, of Zoophile Engagement for Tolerance and Information (Zeta), a group which claims to have about 100 members. "Central to the beliefs of zoophiles is that we don't do anything that the animal doesn't want. We do not treat them cruelly. An animal is quite capable of showing precisely what it wants and does not want. When I look at my dog I know immediately what it wants. Animals are much easier to understand than women," he told the Guardian.

Mr Kiok, who lives in a “relationship” with an 8½-year-old Alsatian (no, we are not making this up), estimates that there are 100,000 zoophiles in Germany and complains that they are badly misunderstood. "We don't have anything to do with people who abuse animals," he said. "We only want what's best for the animal.”

The ban could tarnish Germany’s reputation for sexual permissiveness. In February the animal protection official for the state of Hesse claimed that there were animal brothels and that sex with animals was being treated as a lifestyle choice. “The abuse seems to be increasingly rapidly, and the internet offers an additional distribution platform,” she said. 

Why the outbreak of prudishness? In 1969 bestiality was removed from the criminal code, but the government will restore it because of pressure from animal rights activists. The interesting feature of the ban is its rationale. It is not being claimed that animals are harmed; rather they are forced into "actions alien to the species". Does this signal a revival of “natural law” theory in bioethics? Is animal rights a Trojan Horse for the idea that the purpose of sex cannot be redefined arbitrarily? 

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