M Jenny Edwards
SME, Animal Sexual Abuse and Exploitation
Why is Bestiality Illegal?
January 3, 2017
First published in Quora
The reason bestiality is illegal nearly everywhere in the world is that socieities have chosen not to accept it as a sanctioned or protected sexual act. We feel the same way about pedophilia. In the US, we changed our mind about accepting same-sex unions because marriage is an act of informed consent between two individuals of legal age who make a contract with one another.
You cannot make the “consent argument” when it comes to animals and humans because animals cannot make informed consent – meaning that one understands the consequences of one’s decisions. If I offer a treat to a child or a dog because I want to have sex with him or her, the child or the dog will consent to accept the treat, but will have no idea what my intentions are or what the outcome might be. It’s consent, but not informed consent.
As a person who specializes in bestiality research, I can also tell you that bestiality is not a victimless crime. Even when animals appear not to be physically harmed, they have been behaviorally altered. So has the human for that matter. Sexually exploited animals are much harder to adopt; are often prone to medical problems such as pyometra, urinary tract infections, and constipation; and often respond in atypical ways that may result in an unsuccessful re-homing.
So the reason bestiality is illegal is that it’s not a valid contract between consenting adults, and the reason it’s deplorable is that as adults, we have a responsibility to care for those who cannot care for themselves, like children and domesticated animals. We choose to bring both beings into our lives, and from that moment we have a legal, moral, ethical, and logical imperative to care for them.