The Indian unit of animal rights body People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has urged the Centre to make bestiality a cognisable offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The organisation also asked for stricter penalties for cruelty to animals, PTI reported on Wednesday.

Bestiality refers to sexual intercourse between a person and an animal. On July 26, a seven-year-old pregnant goat had died a day after being allegedly raped by eight men in Haryana’s Nuh district. PETA India had worked with the police to get a case registered against the accused under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which outlaws “unnatural sex”.

In a letter to Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, the organisation has demanded amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. It also urged the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Law to keep bestiality criminal even if it amends the Section 377 to decriminalise sexual acts between consenting same-sex partners.

PETA India Chief Executive Officer Manilal Valliyate called the Nuh incident a “horrific, depraved assault”. He said that those who commit cruelty to animals often move on to hurting humans.

“PETA India is demanding that animals remain protected from sexual assault for their sake and for the sake of the community at large,” he said. A study of domestic violence showed that 60% of the women said their abusive partners had harmed or killed dogs or other animals, said PETA India.