Germany's highest court Thursday threw out a challenge to the country’s laws banning sexual relations with animals brought by two plaintiffs identified only as “Mr. F” and “Mrs. S,” the Associated Press reported.

The plaintiffs claimed they felt sexually attracted to animals, and argued Germany’s bestiality ban violated their right of “sexual self-determination.” The Federal Constitution Court said the law banning sexual activity with animals wasn’t disproportionate, and protecting animals from being sexually assaulted was a legitimate goal.

Sexual activity with animals are misdemeanors in Germany, carrying a possible $27,850 fine upon conviction. Germany’s Parliament voted to criminalize the use of animals for sexual activity for the first time as recently as 2013, the New York Times reported.

Zoophiles said at the time their sexual relations with their animals were mutual, and their pets — whom they prefer to call their “partners” — could express whether they wanted sex. Animal rights activists criticized zoophiles, arguing they put animals in harm’s way. Having sex with animals was legalized in Germany in 1969, except in cases where the animals proved to have suffered significant harm.

“We see animals as partners and not as a means of gratification,” Michael Kiok, chairman of the Zoophile Engagement for Tolerance and Information group, said at the time to the BBC. “We don't force them to do anything. Animals are much easier to understand than women.”

Bestiality brothels, or “erotic zoos,” where people could visit to abuse animals such as goats and llamas were reported to have been spreading fast throughout Germany in 2013, the Daily Mail reported. “Mere concepts of morality have no business being law,” Kiok told the Daily Mail.