Canada's Supreme Court has declared that most sex acts between people and animals are legal, as long as no penetration is involved, in a controversial bestiality ruling that has been slammed by animal rights groups.
The Independent reported that the case involved a British Columbia man, identified as "DLW," who was convicted of 13 counts of sexually assaulting his stepdaughters, but was acquitted of bestiality — because he "only" forced dogs into oral sex, without penetration being involved. The man "smeared peanut butter on the genitals of his victims and had the family dog lick it off while he videotaped the act."
While a Canadian law passed in 1955 sought to punish bestiality, the Supreme Court argued that the definition of the word does not cover every sex act with an animal.
"Although bestiality was often subsumed in terms such as sodomy or buggery, penetration was the essence — 'the defining act' — of the offence," the court ruled.
"There is no hint in any of the parliamentary record that any substantive change to the elements of the offence of bestiality was intended," it added.
Justice Rosalie Abella, the lone dissenter in the 7-1 ruling, said that penetration should not be considered essential when defining bestiality.
"Acts with animals that have a sexual purpose are inherently exploitative whether or not penetration occurs," Abella said.
Animal rights groups, including Animal Justice, has said that such "outdated" laws are failing to protect Canada's animals, as seen in the latest decision.
"As of today, Canadian law gives animal abusers license to use animals for their own sexual gratification," executive director of Animal Justice Camille Labchuk said. "This is completely unacceptable, contrary to societal expectations, and cannot be allowed to continue."
"People who sexually abuse animals are sometimes linked to sexually abusing children as well, as the accused did in this case," Labchuk added, according to Reuters. "That's a really good reason parliament needs to act."
Breitbart News noted that bestiality issues are "troublesome" in the United States as well, with animal rights activists in Ohio urging state legislate to more clearly define that any sex between humans and animals is against the law.
Ohio's lack of clear bestiality laws was highlighted by a case in April concerning one 61-year-old man who was arrested after committing sex acts with dogs over a period of six years.
The Canadian legislature process recently made international news after the Liberal Party, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, introduced a new bill seeking to establish two year prison terms for people found guilty of transgender discrimination.
"There remains much to be done, though. Far too many people still face harassment, discrimination, and violence for being who they are. This is unacceptable," Trudeau said at the time, noting that the bill would expand existing "hate speech" prohibitions to include any public speech or communication that "promotes hatred" on the basis of "gender identity" or "gender expression," which is aimed at defending transgender people.