State lawmakers, animal rights advocates propose making bestiality a crime

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SANTA FE, N.M. — A bill in the New Mexico state Legislature seeks to make bestiality a crime in the state, and it’s backed by both political parties.

If passed, Senate Bill 215 would criminalize the sexual abuse of animals, and would take New Mexico off the list of only two states where such actions are legal – West Virginia is the other.

“Quite frankly, bestiality is gross. It’s wrong,” said Republican State Sen. Mark Moores, who represents part of Bernalillo County. “I have no idea why this hasn’t been made a priority in the past.”

He said a proposal to end bestiality hasn’t been brought up in the 10-plus years he’s been at the Roundhouse – but this bill has a sponsor from both parties.

“I cannot imagine any of my colleagues not wanting to ban this horrendous practice,” Moores said. “This is what government should look like when we’re presented with like ghastly images, that we can put partisanship aside and work together.”

Animal rights advocates like Jessica Johnson with Animal Protection Voters in New Mexico said people in the state are engaging in this abuse, which they called disgusting. They are urging state lawmakers to pass the bill.

“This is a difficult topic,” Johnson said. “It’s enraging. It’s heartbreaking.”

An advocacy group and a viewer each sent KOB 4 an online ad they said shows someone asking for an animal in order to sexually abuse them. One involved a dog. The other involved a horse.

“It’s important that New Mexico starts to take this seriously, because we know that it causes a lot of harm to the animals that are victimized. It’s connected to a lot of other offenses that relate to harming people, including children,” Johnson said.

She believes sexual abuse of animals is underreported, saying that’s even more of a problem when the act is legal.

Under the bill, it would also be a crime to have any kind of pornography related to the sexual abuse of animals.

Track SB 215 during the legislative session.