Zoophilia and the law
Zoophilia and the law looks at the laws governing humans having sex with animals around the world.
Laws on bestiality tend to be shaped by animal welfare concerns, moral views and cultural beliefs. Animal welfare bodies usually, but not always, view zoophilia as a matter of animal abuse.
For centuries, sexual acts with animals were penalized under sodomy or "crime against nature" laws. Since the 1950s most such general laws have been repealed and in some places they have been replaced by laws which are specifically anti-bestiality. Most of these new laws have been created in the 2000s and early 2010s; for example, bestiality was banned in Pennsylvania in 1999, Iowa in 2001, Illinois in 2002, Maryland in 2002, Washington (state) in 2006, Arizona in 2006, Indiana in 2007, Tennessee in 2007, Colorado in 2007, Alaska in 2010, and Florida in 2011 (by Nan Rich); outside the U.S. zoophilia was outlawed in Norway in 2008, The Netherlands in 2010, and Australia's capital territory in 2011.
Some jurisdictions list laws very clearly, such as England and Wales, which specifically prohibits penetration of a human being by the penis of an animal, and penetration of an animal by a human's penis.
By contrast, many countries and US states are less precise about the scope of law in that they outlaw sex with animals, without defining what constitutes "sex".
Even if bestiality is not explicitly prohibited, there are often many other laws which can be used to effectively prosecute cases. For example, most countries have animal cruelty laws, and a prosecutor will argue that all zoophilia activity is animal abuse. In some U.S. states, a person who engages in bestiality can be charged with animal cruelty.
Incidents without specific bestiality statutes
In the case of Kenneth Pinyan, who died from injuries sustained from receiving anal sex from a horse, local law enforcement found that there were no laws that allowed them to prosecute his friend, who had filmed the event and also allowed himself to be sodomized by the horse. The friend was prosecuted for trespassing. That case prompted the Washington State legislature to draw up legislation outlawing sex with animals.
In a 2005 Florida case, a man who had sex with his dog was charged with disorderly conduct, since the state had no anti-bestiality laws on the books at the time. On October 1, 2011 the state of Florida State Law 828.126, F.S went into effect, banning sex with animals.
Common reasons given for laws
In many cultures across the world having sex with animals is seen as subhuman and immoral. In many cultures, humans are seen as fundamentally different from other animals and having sex with animals is seen as a defilement.
Frequently, humans having sex with animals is seen as a form of animal cruelty or animal abuse. This belief has been bolstered by the practices of zoosadism and also fed by the distaste most cultures have for having sex with animals.
Laws against zoophilia
Aggrawal has discussed extensively on laws against zoophilia. It is permitted in a few countries, such as Sweden and Denmark, although ordinary animal treatment laws apply. In other countries, such as Russia, bestiality is legal, but zoophilia pornography is illegal.
There are also commonly laws against forcing another person to engage in zoophilia activity, especially minors (usually considered equivalent to rape), and laws related to exposing others (either non-consensually or minors) to the sight of a sexual act. In some jurisdictions, laws against zoophilia conduct also include provisions for seizure of animals where convicted.
Sexual handling of an animal for the purposes of veterinary practice, or animal husbandry (breeding), is normally exempted where such laws exist. In public discussion for the recently passed Oregon law, however, one animal shelter's spokesperson wanted the husbandry exemption kept out, as he was concerned that someone might use these "accepted farming practices" as a legal loophole to then have (legal) sexual contact with an animal only for personal enjoyment. One of the legislators responded by asking if they were trying to outlaw an act (of sexual contact), or a state of mind. The veterinary and husbandry exemption was left out of Oregon's law in the final, enacted version.
- Pornography laws
- Main articles with legal sections: Obscenity, Pornography, Legal status of internet pornography
Legality of any given pornographic material has three components: legality of production, legality of sale and transportation, and legality of ownership. In general, animal pornography is legal to produce anywhere that zoophilia activity and the creation of pornography in general are both legal. Laws concerning sale, transmission and ownership vary more widely.
Erotic art, such as animal pornography in cartoons and the like, which does not require the recording of an actual sexual incident, are not usually considered sex with animals by the law, and so their status depends upon more general laws such as legal limits upon obscenity or pornography alone, and the thin line between erotic art and pornography.
|Country or territory||Zoosexual activity||Sale and distribution of zoophilic pornography||Ownership of zoophilic pornography|
|Australia|| / Varies by state or territory.
(Illegal in Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia)
|Belgium|| Illegal since 2007
(Penalty: Maximum of 1 year in prison for recidivism, 6 months maximum otherwise + fine)
|Brazil||Legal[need quotation to verify][need quotation to verify] since 1830 (via repeal of sodomy laws)||Legal, never criminalized||Legal, never criminalized|
(Penalty: Maximum of 10 years in prison
Maximum of 12 years if in presence of or by child)
|Denmark||Legal since 1933||Legal||Legal|
(Penalty: Maximum of 8 years in prison)
(Penalty: Imprisonment (no length given)
|Finland||Legal since 1971|| Illegal
|France|| Illegal since 2004
(Penalty: Maximum of 2 years in prison and € 30,000 fine)
|Germany|| Illegal since 2013
(Penalty: Maximum of € 25,000 fine)
(Penalty: Maximum of 3 years in prison)
|Hong Kong|| Illegal
(Penalty: Maximum of 10 years in prison and $50,000 fine)
|Hungary||Legal since 1961|| Illegal
(Penalty: Maximum of life in prison)
(Penalty: First three convictions are punished by ta'zir as determined by a judge
Fourth offense is the death penalty)
|Italy||Legal[better source needed]|
(Penalty: Maximum of 20 years in prison, fines, and whipping)
|Netherlands|| Illegal since 2010
(Penalty: Maximum of 1 year in prison and € 19,500 fine)
| Illegal since 2010
(Penalty: Maximum of 6 months in prison and a fine)
| Illegal since 2010
|New Zealand|| Illegal
(Penalty: Maximum of 7 years in prison
Maximum of 3 years in prison)
|Norway|| Illegal since 2008
| Illegal since 2008
|Poland|| Illegal since 2012
(Penalty: Maximum 3 years in prison, donation to animal welfare charity and prohibition of owning an animal for up to 10 years. If done in order to distribute or sell the penalty is increased to a minimum of 6 months and maximum of 8 years in prison)
(Penalty: minimum of 6 months and maximum 8 years in prison)
|Legal (as long as it is not owned with intention of publicizing, sharing or selling)|
(Penalty: Maximum of 2 years in prison and fine)
|South Africa|| Illegal
(Penalty: determined by judge)
(Penalty: maximum 5 years in prison and R200,000 fine)
|Sweden||Legal since 1944, upcoming laws set to outlaw it starting 1. January 2014||Legal||Legal|
|Trinidad and Tobago|| Illegal
(Penalty: Maximum of 30 years in prison)
|Illegal||Illegal|
|United Kingdom|| Illegal since 1290
(Penalty: Maximum of 2 years in prison for conviction on indictment
Maximum of 6 months in prison and a fine for summary conviction) (see Sexual Offences Act 2003)
| Illegal since 2008
(Penalty:) (see Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008)
| Illegal since 2008
(Penalty:) (see Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008)
| United States
||/ Varies by state, territory, or district.||/ Varies by state, territory, or district.||/ Varies by state, territory, or district.|
(Penalty: Maximum of 5 years in prison)
Mentions in the press
- "Freddie the Dolphin" (1991, UK) - man accused of masturbating a well known tame dolphin at sea. Charged with a "lewd act". Acquitted. Expert witnesses testified male dolphins use their erections not just sexually, but socially as well, and no sexual inference could be drawn. Judge summing up said of the £30,000 trial cost, "this has been the most expensive lesson in dolphin sociology that he has ever heard of".  (dead link)
- Kenneth Pinyan (2005, USA) - man died following anal penetration by a stallion, which was filmed by his friend. The death led to rapid introduction of laws in the state against sex with animals.
- Sudan (February 2006) - man caught having sex with a neighbour's goat, is ordered by the council of elders to pay the neighbour a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) and marry the animal. 
- Cambodia (2005) - man caught having a "passionate embrace" in bed with dog, by wife, confessed he loved the dog more and they separated. Cambodian police commented: "As police, we could only solve the problem of his wife then wanting a divorce. We cannot solve the problem of his relationship with his dog, because under Cambodian law it is not strictly illegal... It is amazing, but this husband is not crazy. It seems he is a passionate human being who looked at a dog, and the more he looked, the more passionate he became."
- Wisconsin, USA (2007) - Bryan James Hathaway was convicted for having sex with a dead deer. The court case raised some interesting legal issues because the statute prohibits sex with animals, but not carcasses. The defence raised the issue that if a dead animal was an animal, at what point would it cease to be an animal.
- Kansas, USA (2012) - Joshua Coman was convicted in Kansas of criminal sodomy (a misdemeanor), but the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that he did not have to register as a sex offender.
- Vancouver, Canada (2012) - Brian Cutteridge, bestiality proponent, was arrested after the SPCA claims to have a video of him engaging in sex with one of his dogs.
- Arizona, USA (2012) - Sarah Dae Walker and her husband pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bestiality in a case where Craigslist was used.
- Human–animal marriage
- Legal status of internet pornography
- Sexual norm
- Social norm
- Sodomy law
- "Accidentally Decriminalized, Bestiality To Go Back On Books - Philly.com". Articles.philly.com. 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- "Iowa Animal Anti-Cruelty Statute". Animallaw.info. 2004-04-09. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- "Maryland Consolidated Cruelty Statutes". Animallaw.info. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- Sullivan, Jennifer (2 March 2006). "Lawmakers vote to make bestiality illegal in this state". The Seattle Times.
- "Governor signs bill to ban bestiality - Tucson Citizen Morgue, Part 1 (2006-2009)". Tucsoncitizen.com. 2006-05-24. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- "Indiana Consolidated Cruelty Statutes". Animallaw.info. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- "States considering laws against bestiality - OhMyGov News". Ohmygov.com. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- Brown, Jennifer (April 17, 2007). "Bill adds bestiality to animal cruelty law". Denver Post.
- Drake, Bruce. "Bill to Criminalize Bestiality Advances in Alaska Legislature". Politicsdaily.com. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- "Anti-Bestiality Law Finally Passes In Florida « CBS Miami". Miami.cbslocal.com. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- [dead link]
- "Dutch Parliament OKs Ban on Beastiality – In the News –". Last.fm. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- "", Sexual Offences Act 2003 Section 69.
- The argument that "all sexual activity with animals is automatically abuse" was made for example, in 1) the 2004 case of State vs. Mitchell (Florida), 2) the 2004 Pony case in Utrecht, Holland (cited below), and 3) the 2006 Washington state law which asserts as its foundational premise that "animal cruelty in the first degree is committed when a person knowingly engages in sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal." SB-6417 2006
- "The Animal In You". The Stranger. February–March 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-30.
- Man charged with having intercourse with his Guide Dog (dead link)
- [dead link]
- Aggrawal, Anil (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press. ISBN 978-1-4200-4308-2.
- Ref: Halsbury's Laws of Australia #9 page 247662: Criminal offence: New South Wales (Crimes Act 1900 s79, not more than 14 years imprisonment), Northern Territory (Criminal Code s138, not more than 3 years imprisonment), Queensland (Criminal Code s211: "carnal knowledge of an animal", not more than 7 years imprisonment), South Australia (Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 s69, "buggery with an animal", not more than 10 years imprisonment), Tasmania (Criminal Code s122(b), not more than 21 years imprisonment), Victoria (Crimes Act 1958 s59, not more than 5 years imprisonment), Western Australia (Criminal Code s181: "carnal knowledge of an animal", not more than 7 years imprisonment), Australian Capital Territory (Crimes Act 1900 s63A inserted in 2011, "Bestiality", not more than 10 years imprisonment).
- Kamercommissie stelt seks met dieren dan toch strafbaar-De Standaard
- , no longer accessible
- Revista Época – Sex with animals: why do pretend that it does not exist? (Portuguese)
- Ecce Bestia: Vice with Animals (Portuguese)
- Sex with animals as an extreme practice in the 'bizarre porn' genre in Brazil (Portuguese)
- News24 - Redirect
- Criminal Code of Canada - 160. Bestiality
- Sex law index and discussion
- Ecuador Penal Code - Art. 517
- Criminal Code of Ethiopia 2004 - Article 633.- Sexual Intercourse with an Animal.
- 18 § (9.7.2004/650) Sukupuolisiveellisyyttä loukkaavan kuvan levittäminen
- [French Penal Code - Chapter one: Serious abuse or acts of cruelty animals. - Article 521-1]
- German Legislators Vote to Outlaw Bestiality
- § 184a StGB Verbreitung gewalt- oder tierpornographischer Schriften §184a StGB
- Section 104-Unnatural Carnal Knowledge
- [30.61] Sodomy and bestiality s. 61
- Section 377. Unnatural offences.
- e. Vaty-e heyvanat va Mayet-e-insan (bestiality and necrophilia), four offenses
- History of Zoophilia and The Law
- Buggery with an animal - 377.
- Namibia: Rehoboth Man Arrested for Bestiality
- Article 254
- "wetten.nl - Wet- en regelgeving - Wetboek van Strafrecht - BWBR0001854" (in (Dutch)). Wetten.overheid.nl. 2012-12-24. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- Crimes Act 1961 - 143 - Bestiality
- Crimes Act 1961 - 144 - Indecency with animal
- With regard to § 14. Specific Bans
- catholic filipino charged for raping dog he also loves pigs too
- "Internetowy System Aktów Prawnych". Isap.sejm.gov.pl. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- Polish Penal Code, Article 202, Section 3.
- Bestiality and Zoophilia: Sexual Relations with Animals
- "Legea privind prevenirea si combaterea pornografiei", Nr. 196/2003, Monitorul Oficial al României, Partea I,. nr. 342 din 20 mai 2003
- “Sexual penetration with living animal 377B.
- Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007, s. 13.
- Films and Publications Act 65 of 1996 s. 24A(2) read with s. 18(3)(b)(ii).
- Sweden proposes ban on sex with animals
- Another blow for bestiality
- "Sweden proposes 'total' ban on bestiality - The Local". Thelocal.se. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- SR 455.1 Tierschutzverordnung Art. 16 j.
- See FJ 2000 p. 2981.
- May 2004 Update from the Land of Randy Pandas
- Mayaro labourer on bestiality charge
- Intercourse with an animal
- Extreme porn law used on beastly Chinese DVD pirates
- Zambian Penal code Cap 87 Section 115; Unnatural Offences
- [dead link]
- "Africa | Sudan man forced to 'marry' goat". BBC News. 2006-02-24. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- [dead link]
- Rabiner, Stephanie (2012-04-06). "Dog Molester Won't Have to Register as Sex Offender - Legally Weird". Blogs.findlaw.com. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- "100494 - State v. Coman - Greene - Kansas Court of Appeals". Kscourts.org. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- "Vancouver man faces bestiality charge". CBC News. 26 February 2012.
- "Pair plead guilty in Craigslist bestiality case". CBS 5. 28 June 2012.