COPENHAGEN -- Denmark has outlawed bestiality, putting the small Scandinavian country in line with several European neighbours, including Germany, Sweden and Norway.

In a 91-75 vote, Danish lawmakers approved Tuesday banning sex with animals. Five abstained.

The law proposal had been introduced in February by Denmark's farming minister Dan Joergensen, who wanted to tighten the law on animal welfare and protection. In April, he said offenders "must be made aware that we find maltreatment of animals absolutely unacceptable."

Denmark's Animal Ethics Council had opposed the law, saying existing laws which allow bestiality except in cases where the animal can be proved to have suffered, were enough.

As of July 1, a person found guilty of having had sexual relations with an animal faces fines or shorter imprisonment.