Canada ruled Thursday on an issue that’s apparently very pressing for many people: when you’re having sex with an animal, what counts as sex? If it’s just oral, is it really that big a deal? You may wonder in what situation anyone would ever need to pose these questions, but bestiality is actually legal in many parts of the U.S. and reliably pops up in the news every so often. So, what’s the verdict in Canada? According to the Canadian Supreme Court, sex with animals is A-OK, as long as there’s no penetration.The decision was based on an appeal by a man known as D.L.W.
Warning: this is about to get fucked up.
A lower court initially sentenced D.L.W to 14 years in prison for putting peanut butter on his teenage stepdaughter’s vagina so the dog would lick it off while he photographed it all (I warned you). The judge ruled that bestiality includes “touching between a person and an animal for a person’s sexual purpose.”
(Bestiality was just one of the several charges he was convicted of, as you might guess from that description of the incident.)
Then, an appeals court acquitted him of the conviction, and the Queen appealed the acquittal to the Supreme Court. The court maintained that D.L.W. was off the hook, blaming Parliament’s definition of bestiality.
“The term ‘bestiality’ has a well-established legal meaning and refers to sexual intercourse between a human and an animal. Penetration has always been understood to be an essential element of bestiality,” the decision reads. “Parliament may wish to consider whether the present provisions adequately protect children and animals. But it is for Parliament, not the courts to expand the scope of criminal liability for this offense.”
Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice—the intervener in the case—told Vice the ruling demonstrates bestiality laws are out of date. The court decision explains that animals have not been included in any of the revisions to Criminal Code, and bestiality has retained the same definition it had when it was introduced in 1892 as “buggary.”