(LifeSiteNews) — Controversy has erupted in Spain after the Congress of Deputies approved the Animal Welfare Law which, according to critics, decriminalized bestiality as long as the animal in question does not suffer “an injury that requires veterinary treatment.” The law was supported by Ione Belarra Urteaga, the Minister of Social Rights and 2030 Agenda, and opposed by the conservative opposition Vox Party.
Poland’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro stated that this legislation is yet another example of “the virus of leftism”—Spain’s government is left-wing—and tweeted that: “Leftism is the plague of the 21st century. The Spanish allowed children to change sex on demand. Now they are legalising bestiality.”
According to the media outlet Mundotoro: “Bestiality will no longer be considered a criminal offense if there are no injuries to the animal. This is established by the new Penal Code through the new Animal Welfare Law promoted by Minister Ione Belarra that was approved in Congress on February 9.”
The Spanish Penal Code article 337.1 previously stated that: “He will be punished with three months and one day to one year in prison and special disqualification from one year and one day to three years for the exercise of a profession, trade or trade that is related to animals and for the possession of animals, the one who by any means or procedure mistreats unjustifiably, causing injuries that seriously impair their health or subjecting them to sexual exploitation, a domestic or tamed animal, an animal that is usually domesticated , an animal that temporarily or permanently lives under human control, or any animal that does not live in the wild.”
The amended law removes article 337 and the phrase “sexual exploitation,” with title XVI instead stating: “It will be punished with a prison sentence of three to eighteen months or a fine of six to twelve months and with the penalty of special disqualification from one to five years for the exercise of a profession, trade or trade that is related to animals and for the Animal possession is the one that, outside of legally regulated activities and by any means or procedure, including acts of a sexual nature, causes an animal that is domesticated, tamed, domesticated or that lives temporarily or permanently under human control an injury that requires veterinary treatment to the restoration of his health.”
There is some controversy over whether this bill formally decriminalizes bestiality as critics claim. Despite the fact that the bill does, in fact, change the penal code from criminalizing “subjecting [animals] to sexual exploitation” to only criminalizing “acts of a sexual nature…[that] cause an animal injury that requires treatment,” left-leaning media such as elDiario.es claim that the bill is actually an expansion of protection because it covers all “acts of a sexual nature” causing harm, and further asserting that bestiality has never been criminalized in Spain in the first place. This seems dubious, especially due to the fact that even the fact-checking service which called these critiques a hoax—Newtral—cites animal rights and legal experts who agree that the wording of the legislation needs to be clarified to criminalize any acts of bestiality.
Surely such a clarification would not be needed if the Animal Welfare Law was an expansion of protection for animals—and surely it would not have made the odd specification that only acts which cause harm requiring treatment by a veterinarian if the intent was to criminalize all such acts. A blanket ban, after all, can be worded quite simply. Spain’s leftist government, it appears, chose not to do so—and legal experts and animal rights experts agree.