German zoophiles can now face fines of up to €25,000 for all forms of sex with animals.
The rules passed on Thursday by the Bundestag lower house of parliament form part of a package of measures aimed at bolstering animal protection to bring the country in line with a European Union directive.
Yet animal protection groups are deploring other rules passed at the same time which allow practices such as castrating pigs and branding horses - which inflict pain on animals but are common in livestock breeding - to continue.
By voting to continue to allow horse breeders to brand animals, the government ignored the advice of its own Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner, who had argued for a ban.
The animal rights association PETA called it a black day for animals, while the German Farmers Association said the new rules actually raised demands on livestock owners. From 2019 onwards handlers must give horses a local anaesthetic before they are branded.
The same applies to male pigs, which from 2019 must receive an anaesthetic before being castrated – a process which removes the gamey flavour in pork from male pigs.
“The castration of male pigs is a bigger problem than the branding of horses from the perspective of animal protection,” said Jörg Aurich, veterinary expert at the University of Vienna.
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An alternative method to get rid of the smell - which disappears anyway after cooking - must be found, he added.