The Netherlands has banned sex with animals and animal pornography.
On Tuesday the Upper House finally backed a 2008 Lower House vote in favour of the ban. “Indecent acts” with animals are now punishable with an 18-month prison sentence, and pornography involving animals is explicitly outlawed.
While the Lower House voted unanimously in favour of the bill, in the Upper House there were some who spoke out against a law against bestiality – notably from the conservative VVD and Christian Democrat parties.
VVD senator Sybe Schaap described the legislation as “unworkable”, and the Christian democrats described it as “symbolic politics”.
Opponents of the ban were concerned that vets and farmers carrying out artificial insemination could fall foul of the law. The original term “sexual acts” with animals was therefore changed to “indecent acts”.
The law was originally proposed by the Labour Party with the strong backing of the Animal Rights Party. It aims to put a stop to a flourishing trade in animal pornography based in the Netherlands.
In surrounding countries sex with animals is already against the law, making the Netherlands an animal porn hub, some estimates say the country produces 80 percent of such material worldwide.
Neighbouring Belgium introduced a ban in 2007, and France passed a similar law in 2004. The United Kingdom has longstanding laws against bestiality.
Other European countries don’t have explicit laws, but prosecute perpetrators under animal welfare legislation. In the United States, more than half the states ban sex with animals, with widely varying penalties. In some states it counts as a misdemeanour, while in others it carries a 20-year jail sentence.
(c) Radio Netherlands Worldwide