The justice minister of Poland, Zbigniew Ziobro, has stirred controversy by claiming that Spain is legalizing bestiality and that the opposition party in Poland wants to ban meat. These statements have been widely criticized for being misleading and inaccurate.
The claim regarding Spain is related to new animal rights legislation that was recently approved by the lower house of parliament. The bill seeks to change the penal code by criminalizing “acts of a sexual nature…[that] cause an animal injury that requires treatment”. This change has led to speculation that acts of a sexual nature that do not cause harm would be permitted. However, the bill actually strengthens the law by expanding it to cover all “acts of a sexual nature” that cause harm.
Legal and animal-rights experts have suggested that the wording of the law should be changed to more clearly criminalize any sexual acts with animals. However, bestiality specifically has never been criminalized in Spain, only sexual exploitation of animals, which suggests acts for economic gain. As such, the new bill expands the scope of the law to protect animals from sexual acts.
The claim that Poland’s opposition wants to ban meat has also been disputed. The idea stems from a report commissioned by C40 Cities, a group of 96 cities worldwide seeking to take action against climate change, which recommended significant cuts in meat and dairy consumption, as well as reductions in purchases of clothing and use of cars and aeroplanes. Warsaw is part of C40, and the city’s mayor, Rafał Trzaskowski, who is a leading figure in Poland’s main centrist opposition party, was criticized for allegedly planning to introduce the report’s recommendations in Warsaw and Poland more widely.
Trzaskowski denied such claims, calling them “manipulation”. He clarified that the contents of the report were only recommendations and not policies he planned to introduce in Warsaw or PO in Poland more widely. The government party, Law and Justice, rejected the idea of limiting the consumption of meat and dairy, emphasizing their commitment to freedom.
The claims made by the Polish justice minister have been found to be misleading and inaccurate. It is important to fact-check claims made by public figures to ensure that accurate information is being disseminated.
Will the new legislation have effects on Spain and the world?
It is unlikely that the recent changes in Spanish animal rights legislation will have significant effects on Spain or the rest of the world. The new legislation simply expands the existing law to cover all “acts of a sexual nature” that cause harm to animals, instead of only criminalizing the “sexual exploitation” of animals for economic gain. While there was some confusion about the wording of the law, the consensus among legal and animal-rights experts is that it strengthens the protection of animals from sexual acts.
As for Poland, the claims made by the justice minister regarding bestiality and meat consumption are largely seen as misleading and have been criticized by opposition politicians and fact-checking organizations. While there may be some political fallout from these claims within Poland, it is unlikely to have significant effects on the country or the world at large.
In general, changes in legislation within individual countries are unlikely to have major global effects unless they are part of a broader trend or have significant economic or geopolitical implications. However, the treatment of animals is an important issue for many people around the world, and changes in animal rights legislation can have significant effects on animal welfare and public opinion.