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VuePoint: Bestiality laws

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The Supreme Court has thrown various contentious tasks at Parliament over the last few years—fixing the laws around prostitution and assisted dying, for instance—and last week, we got one more. The Supreme Court justices found that as the law is written, bestiality is legal so long as there is no penetration.

Needless to say, this should be fixed swiftly. More than likely, at the time it was written the lawmakers thought it would be good enough, as surely we don’t actually want to live in a society where non-penetrative sex with animals is legal—and if you do, the simple argument is that an animal is not capable of consent analogously to how a child is not capable of consent. We’re talking about open season on a particular kind of animal abuse, and we’d best deal with it.

So yes, this will require our legislators to discuss what counts as sex with an animal. As it happens, a private member’s bill, Bill C-246 was introduced by Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith in February, proposing a slew of animal-rights updates to our laws, with a section on bestiality mentioned specifically to close the very loophole around
penetration.

Previous attempts by the Liberals to update such laws failed, and private members’ bills often don’t become law. Perhaps you wouldn’t agree with all the changes in Bill C-246, but surely now that the Supreme Court has found that it’s perfectly legal to sexually engage with animals in a wide variety of ways, we might at least agree that there’s a strong possibility that our animal-rights laws are generally decades out of date. Throwing a little more light on an attempt to update them would be a good thing. V

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