SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico is one step closer to enacting new punishments for anyone who engages in bestiality. Senate Bill 215 would make it illegal to engage in bestiality as well as make it illegal to promote the act.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Moores (R-Abq.) and Sen. Brenda G. McKenna (D-Corrales & Placitas), would make it a fourth-degree felony to obtain an animal for bestiality. It would also be a fourth-degree felony to sell, coerce, or manipulate someone to engage in bestiality.

Existing New Mexico laws already prohibit animal cruelty, according to the Law Offices of the Public Defender. But this bill would more clearly lay out rules against certain acts.

So why might New Mexico need such a law? Investigators have found evidence of bestiality conferences and gatherings within the state, according to an analysis. And there appears to be a link between child pornography in New Mexico and pornography that contains bestiality, the New Mexico Attorney General notes.

Monday, March 6, legislators in the New Mexico Senate voted unanimously to approve the bill. Now, it’s up to legislators in the House to decide if the bill continues progressing towards law.