Statement regarding the new “sodomy” law

Yesterday the German Federal Parliament read and put to law the new animal welfare regulation (reference 17/11811) combining the 2. and 3. required review. The agricultural committee had included a measure to outlaw sexual human-animal contacts within this new animal-welfare law, treating it as a fine-able offense. We of the ZETA Association have developed in detail on our webpages how this is a purely morally motivated law – as such it should not exist in a secular country.

To our dismay this moral enforcement came to law against advice from a consulted expert, Justice Thorsten Gerdes, Ph.D., at the state court Detmold, and the remarks by the former Vice-President of the federal high court for the constitution, Professor Winfried Hassemer, Ph.D. mult. (hons), published in ‘Der Spiegel’ and the ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’. Furthermore there was a distinct lack of interest by the government to dissect the topic of zoophilia in detail. On the contrary, this law is used by the CDU/CSU-FDP government to cover up their complete failure in their planned animal welfare law. Neither the originally envisioned restriction of branding horses nor the torturous castration without anesthesia of piglets could they reach against the respective lobbyists. There are also no other improvements concerning animal welfare in the agricultural industries nor in animal experiments in sight at all.

A morally based law like this “sodomy” interdiction is a farce in a secular country. To solicit a judgement, even just the here applicable fine, in a law-based society an objective violation of a protect-able good in itself must be given (as the explanation goes in Germany). This violation must be documented. If from now on there is a consent-based sexual contact there should be a fine according to the ‘intent’ of this law, but it is foreseeable that the courts will be mired in most difficult processes to find the necessary evidence – especially since in the consent case there is no harm done at all. This law serves as a willful discrimination of a sexual minority. Zoophile citizens are now in fear to be singled out and bullied. Their animals could be taken from them on the base of the accusation only, without any proof of harm or neglect.

During the expert-hearing in the responsible agricultural committee, Justice Thorsten Gerdes, Ph.D., at the state court of Detmold, did not only single out the problems of this law, clashing with the constitution, but also stated his expert opinion, that: “[translated] There is no given need for a regulation of this matter of zoophilia.” The former Vice-President of the federal high court for the constitution, Winfried Hassemer, Ph.D. mult. (hons), said in ‘Der Spiegel’ that the fact of feelings about such actions of ‘disgust’ and ‘missing decorum’ cannot be enough to require a fine or other punishment in a secular country. He reiterated this on the 13. December in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”.

Zoophilia is a true sexual orientation, just as e.g. homosexuality, according to findings of Hani Miletski, Ph.D., Professor Bernhard Ditters et al., Professor Martin S. Weinberg, Professor Colin J. Williams, and the psychologist Marion Nasswetter. Therefore, based on the German constitution, zoophile people enjoy the right to develop their sexuality freely, given that this does not harm an animal. In a judgement involving the conflicting goods of the former right and the moral feelings of third parties, their need to abhor this sexual orientation, the constitutional right has to be held higher than sanctioning an action as ‘perverted’ just because some say it is.

The very wording of this “sodomy”-law is based on assumptions which are long outdated. Scientifically, there is enough empirical evidence to say that sexual contacts in between different species are not “[translated] against the nature of the species” as is said in the new law. On the contrary, they happen on a regular base in nature. Researchers like the evolutional-biologist Professor Micheal Arnold of the University of Georgia at Athens are indeed convinced that intercourse between different species are a relevant aspect in evolution. That some individuals of a species are interested in another species may be ‘disgusting’ for other individuals of their own species, but against nature or not natural for the species such contacts are not.

Moreover: there are no scientific findings indicating that interspecies intercourse – based on consent – is harmful or uncomfortable for the involved individuals of both species. The idea to limit harm by this law is therefore corrupted. Any harm or torture of animals was covered by section 17 of the animal welfare law already; including when the harm was caused by a sexual motivation. More reasonable would be to minimize the harm that is done to animals generally, by removing the word ‘extensive’ from this subsection, as it only outlaws ‘extensive harm’ done to animals. This would allow the effective prosecution of all animal abuse. The ZETA Association proposed this to parliament in September already in writing.

We of the ZETA Association will lodge a law-suit against this new law at the federal high court for the constitution in Germany, to avoid discrimination and persecution of zoophiles in Germany.