Animal-rights groups are furious after a decision by Canada’s highest court has legalized certain sex acts with animals. A man on trial for the sexual assault of his stepdaughters had also been convicted of bestiality for allegedly using peanut butter to coax a family dog into assaulting his victims. The accused appealed to the Canadian Supreme Court to have the charge dropped due to a lack of “penetration,” an element required to meet parliament’s legal definition of bestiality. The court agreed, dismissed the charge, and in a 7-to-1 ruling declared that “although bestiality was often subsumed in terms such as sodomy … penetration was the essence—‘the defining act’—of the offense,” amplifying the legality of oral and other non-penetrative sexual acts with animals. Court documents show the convicted man, sentenced to 14 years in prison, also attempted to have the dog have intercourse with his victims, but failed. “As of today, Canadian law gives animal abusers license to use animals for their own sexual gratification,” executive director of Animal Justice Camille Labchuk said. “This is completely unacceptable, contrary to societal expectations, and cannot be allowed to continue.” Justices Beverley McLachlin, Thomas Cromwell, Michael Moldaver, Andromache Karakatsanis, Richard Wagner, Clément Gascon, Suzanne Côté, and Russell Brown all voted in favor of the movement, while Justice Rosalie Abella cast the lone dissenting vote, saying, “Acts with animals that have a sexual purpose are inherently exploitative whether or not penetration occurs.”
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