Spain bans bestiality but not animal fights

The Spanish government has approved measures to imprison people who have sex with animals but ruled out punishing organizers of illegal shows in which animals are mistreated.

Spain bans bestiality but not animal fights
The government said that the organizers of shows in which animals were harmed would not be punished. Flickr/Pedro Murillo

Spain's Justice Commission announced on Friday that bestiality would become punishable by up to one year in prison as part of a new law which will reform the penal code (Ley Orgánica de Reforma del Código Penal).

The ruling came after more than 135,000 people signed a petition organized by the non-profit animal rights group Observatorio Justicia y Defensa Animal.

A motion to ban bestiality was then filed by the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) party.

But the commission infuriated animal rights supporters by ruling that although it would fine people who harmed animals in shows like cockfighting events, the organizers of such shows would not face charges.

It also ruled out punishing organizers of organized public events that led to the death of animals.

ERC MP Joan Tardá said that the measures “fell short”.

Other European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and France have already criminalized bestiality, with Sweden bringing in a new law early in 2014.