It may be more far-sighted extreme right-wing faith-based racism (having now lost on the inter-religious, inter-racial and now increasingly gay issues) than we thought: Christian religious leaders who support blitzkrieg of ‘anti-bestiality’ hate statutes reveal yet more of what is really on their mind and denounce Star Trek for portraying ‘bestiality’ between Humans and other intelligent species ( such as reason-driven Vulcans?)…See the story at: http://io9.com/right-wing-preacher-condemns-star-trek-into-darkness-fo-683228506 and remember–they mean exactly what they say–so believe them. (It is also explained that ‘homosexuality and bestiality’ are not that different…and so revealing the long-run goal to–by equating them in the minds of vulnerable young people in religious families for when they vote–automatically reverse GLBT advances and re-launch a new pogrom of ‘bestial’ gays and those of normal sexual practices once charcaterized as ‘sodomy’ by the haters…)–Editors
NB: The stautes are in the details–not the hate images: They have even made animal photography subject to fine or prison if deemed ‘bestial erotic’…
Rebecca F. Wisch
Animal Legal & Historical Center
Publish Date: 2013
Place of Publication: Michigan State University College of Law
This table details state laws prohibiting sexual conduct between humans and animals. The vast majority of states (about 33) have some provision that criminalizes engaging in sexual conduct with animals.
A slight majority of states make this crime a felony (sixteen states misdemeanor, seventeen felony). However, one striking fact is the range of possible sentences under the laws. In Rhode Island, conviction results in imprisonment for not less than seven years up to twenty years. Idaho gives a sentence of not less than five years in state prison. Georgia also has a mandatory minimum of one year in jail up with a maximum of up to five. Massachusetts leaves a window of imprisonment that must not exceed twenty years.
In contrast, about half of states label the crime a misdemeanor. However, in some of those states, such as Kansas and Maine, the severity level jumps to a felony if the actor causes or coerces juveniles to engage in the activity or if the person has previous convictions of bestiality.
Notably, the legality of bestiality is not controlled from the federal level. The only relevant federal law is the sodomy law under the military code. This law provides that “[a]ny person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with . . . an animal is guilty of sodomy.” 10 U.S.C.A. § 925. The penalty is derived through court martial. As one might expect, the statute applies only to military personnel.
It is not unusual for this type of societal issue to be controlled at the state level. Due to the interaction of federal power and state rights, most laws that deal with the health, safety, and welfare of citizens occur at the state or even local levels. This is especially true of criminal laws. Bestiality falls under the interest of the state in protecting citizens’ health and, in many states, morality.
While many of these laws date to the last century or earlier, there have been recent additions of bestiality laws, particularly as part of amended cruelty code. While approximately seventeen states do not have a bestiality laws on their books, there may be provisions in the child protection laws addressing the act. These laws may prohibit showing children depictions of such acts or coercing juveniles to perform such acts. The table below does not include these laws.
The evolving view of this criminal activity can also be seen by the criminal chapters under which these laws are placed. Historically, engaging in sexual activity with an animal was considered a crime against public morals or a “crime against nature” as in states like Idaho, Massachusetts, or Michigan. The act of bestiality was often placed in statute that covered other sexual acts that were historically considered “unnatural” and “perverted” (Maryland), or “abominable” and “detestable” (Rhode Island). One state (South Carolina) still refers to the activity as “buggery.” The majority of states label their laws dealing with this conduct “bestiality.”
In recent years, states have moved from categorizing these acts as crimes against morality to viewing them as a form of animal cruelty. In fact, several states specifically include such acts under their animal cruelty codes.
Additionally, many recent enactments contain another provision that the older laws do not: a prohibition on the photographing or filming of sexual acts with animals. Alaska, for example, amended its laws in 2010 to include sexual conduct with an animal under its general cruelty provisions. The subsection criminalizes both knowingly engaging in sexual conduct with an animal as well as filming or photographing another person doing so. With the availability of online media outlets to distribute this material, these newer laws seeks to protect the public from obtaining access to these images.
While categorizing this conduct as cruelty can be seen as a step toward greater animal welfare, California and Oregon have gone beyond this by calling the act “sexual assault of an animal.” This change may reflect these states’ assessment that animals are incapable of consenting to such acts. In some states, this categorization may also bring offenders under sexual assault registry laws.
This issue of registering as a sex offender and “victimhood” came before the Michigan Court of Appeals. In 2008, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that an animal cannot be a “victim” for the purposes of sex offender registry. People v. Haynes, 281 Mich.App. 27, 760 N.W.2d 283 (Mich.App.,2008). In this case, the defendant pleaded no contest to committing an “abominable and detestable crime against nature” with a sheep under MCL 750.158. In addition to sentencing consistent with being habitual offender, the trial court found that defendant’s actions evidenced sexual perversion, so the court ordered defendant to register under the Sex Offenders Registration Act (“SORA”). Defendant only appealed the propriety of the trial court’s order requiring him to register as a sex offender. The Court of Appeals reversed the order, holding that while sheep was the “victim” of the crime, registration was only required if the victim was a human being less than 18 years old. The court found that MCL 750.158 encompasses two categories of crimes: “abominable and detestable crime[s] against nature” with a human being, and “abominable and detestable crime[s] against nature” with an animal. SORA defines “listed offense” as including a violation of section 158 if a victim is an individual less than 18 years of age. Relying on the plain and ordinary meaning of “victim,” the court concluded that an animal was not intended to be considered a victim under the statute.
Because these laws focus on what can be considered an immoral or taboo act, many state laws mandate psychological counseling those convicted under such laws (Arizona and Washington among others). This is often required at the perpetrator’s expense. More recent laws also mandate forfeiture of animals owned by the defendant and restrictions on future ownership.
There have been very few legal challenges to the constitutionality or propriety of such laws. Scholars suggest that these laws may not be directed at the lack of consent on the part of the animal, but rather society’s attitude toward sex itself. Pets or Meat? Mary Ann Case, 80 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 1129 (2005). Recent laws have modified that view by placing the laws under criminal animal cruelty codes. While the author in Pets or Meat focuses on the broader question of gender roles in society, she does raise the difficult issue of how to differentiate the act of bestiality from other “tricks” pets are forced to perform, sometimes through coercion. 80 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 1129, 1149. In fact, famed animal rights philosopher Peter Singer wrote a controversial essay entitled, “Heavy Petting,” in which he suggests that “mutually satisfying activities” could occur without involving cruelty to the animal. (See http://www.utilitarian.net/singer/by/2001—-.htm). Singer insinuates that our discomfort with “zoophilia” stems more from our view as separate and morally superior from the rest of the animal world rather than the direct harm to the animal itself.
Regardless of the philosophical platform from which one views the activity, bestiality is criminally sanctioned in a majority of states. Even if a state does not specifically proscribe the activity, it may be covered under other aspects of a state’s sex crimes code or even a broader animal cruelty law.
|State||Citation and Name of Law||What is prohibited||Penalty||Psychological counseling or other provisions|
|Alaska||Cruelty to animalsA.S. 11.61.140||A person commits cruelty to animals if the person knowingly
||Class A misdemeanor||The court may also
|Arizona||BestialityA.R.S. § 13-1411||Engaging in oral sexual contact, sexual contact or sexual intercourse with an animal or causing another person to engage in such conduct.||Class 6 felonyExcept that bestiality is class 3 felony if person causes another to engage in bestiality if the other person is a minor under fifteen years of age.||Undergo a psychological assessment and participate in appropriate counseling at the convicted person’s own expense.Reimburse an animal shelter for any reasonable costs incurred for the care and maintenance of any animal that was taken to the animal shelter as a result of prohibited conduct.|
|Arkansas||BestialityA.C.A. § 5-14-122||A person commits bestiality if he or she performs or submits to any act of sexual gratification with an animal involving his or her or the animal’s sex organs and the mouth, anus, penis, or vagina of the other.||Class A misdemeanor|
|California||Sexually assaulting animal; misdemeanorCal. Penal Code § 286.5||Any person who sexually assaults any animal protected by Section 597f for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the person.||Misdemeanor|
|Delaware||Bestiality11 Del.C. § 777||A person intentionally engages in any sexual act involving sexual contact, penetration or intercourse with the genitalia of an animal or intentionally causes another person to engage in any such sexual act with an animal for purposes of sexual gratification.||Class D felony|
|Florida||Sexual activities involving animalsWest’s F. S. A. 828.126||A person may not:(a) Knowingly engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal;(b) Knowingly cause, aid, or abet another person to engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal;
(c) Knowingly permit any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal to be conducted on any premises under his or her charge or control; or
(d) Knowingly organize, promote, conduct, advertise, aid, abet, participate in as an observer, or perform any service in the furtherance of an act involving any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal for a commercial or recreational purpose.
|Misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083|
|Georgia||BestialityGa. Code Ann., § 16-6-6||A person commits the offense of bestiality when he performs or submits to any sexual act with an animal involving the sex organs of the one and the mouth, anus, penis, or vagina of the other.||Felony: imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years|
|Idaho||Crime Against Nature–PunishmentI.C. § 18-6605||Every person who is guilty of the infamous crime against nature, committed with mankind or with any animal.||Felony (statute does not list the level but it is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not less than five years).|
|Illinois||Sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal720 I.L.C.S. 5/12-35||(a) A person may not knowingly engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal.(b) A person may not knowingly cause, aid, or abet another person to engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal.(c) A person may not knowingly permit any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal to be conducted on any premises under his or her charge or control.
(d) A person may not knowingly engage in, promote, aid, or abet any activity involving any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal for a commercial or recreational purpose.
|Class 4 felonyA person who violates this Section in the presence of a person under 18 years of age or causes the animal serious physical injury or death is guilty of a Class 3 felony.||
|Indiana||BestialityI.C. 35-46-3-14||A person who knowingly or intentionally performs an act involving:(1) a sex organ of a person and the mouth or anus of an animal;(2) a sex organ of an animal and the mouth or anus of a person;
(3) any penetration of the human female sex organ by an animal’s sex organ; or
(4) any penetration of an animal’s sex organ by the human male sex organ;
|Class D felony|
|Iowa||BestialityIA ST § 717C.1||A person who performs a sex act (“sex act” means any sexual contact between a person and an animal by penetration of the penis into the vagina or anus, contact between the mouth and genitalia, or by contact between the genitalia of one and the genitalia or anus of the other) with an animal.||Aggravated misdemeanor||The court shall require the person to submit to a psychological evaluation and treatment at the person’s expense.|
|Kansas||Criminal sodomy; aggravated criminal sodomyK.S.A. 21-5504||Criminal sodomy involves:
||Subsection (a)(2) (between person and animal) is a class B nonperson misdemeanor.Subsection (a)(4) (causing child between 14 and 16 to engage with animal) is a severity level 3, person felony.|
|Maine||Cruelty to animals17 M.R.S.A. § 1031||A person is guilty of cruelty to animals if that person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly commits bestiality on an animal. For purposes of this paragraph, “commits bestiality” means that a person:(1) Engages in a sexual act with an animal for the purpose of that person’s sexual gratification;(2) Coerces anyone to engage in a sexual act with an animal;
(3) Engages in a sexual act with an animal in the presence of a minor;
(4) Uses any part of the person’s body or an object to sexually stimulate an animal;
(5) Videotapes a person engaging in a sexual act with an animal; or
(6) For the purpose of that person’s sexual gratification, kills or physically abuses an animal.
|Class D crime (misdemeanor)If, at the time of the offense, the defendant has 2 or more prior convictions for violations of this section, section 1032 or essentially similar crimes in other jurisdictions, violation of this paragraph is a Class C crime.||Fine:In addition to any other penalty, the court shall impose a fine of not less than $500 for each violation of this section. The court may order the defendant to pay the costs of the care, housing and veterinary medical treatment for the animal including the costs of relocating the animal.Ownership restrictions:
The court may prohibit the defendant from owning, possessing or having on the defendant’s premises an animal or animals as determined by the court for a period of time, up to and including permanent relinquishment.
A person placed on probation for a violation of this section with a condition that prohibits owning, possessing or having an animal or animals on the probationer’s premises is subject to revocation of probation and removal of the animal or animals at the probationer’s expense if this condition is violated.
The court as part of the sentence may order, as a condition of probation, that the defendant be evaluated to determine the need for psychiatric or psychological counseling and, if it is determined appropriate by the court, to receive psychiatric or psychological counseling at the defendant’s expense.
|Maryland||Unnatural or perverted sexual practiceMD Code, Criminal Law, § 3-322||A person may not:(1) take the sexual organ of another or of an animal in the person’s mouth;(2) place the person’s sexual organ in the mouth of another or of an animal; or
(3) commit another unnatural or perverted sexual practice with another or with an animal.
|MisdemeanorOn conviction subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both.|
|Massachusetts||Crime against natureM.G.L.A. 272 § 34||Whoever commits the abominable and detestable crime against nature, either with mankind or with a beast.||Felony (not listed but punishment is imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 20 years)|
|Michigan||Crime against nature or sodomy; penaltyM.C.L.A. 750.158||Any person who commits “the abominable and detestable crime against nature either with mankind or with any animal . . . “||Felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not more than 15 years.Or,if such person was at the time of the said offense a sexually delinquent person, may be punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for an indeterminate term, the minimum of which shall be 1 day and the maximum of which shall be life.|
|Minnesota||BestialityM.S.A. § 609.294||Whoever carnally knows a dead body or an animal or bird is guilty of bestiality.||MisdemeanorIf knowingly done in the presence of another the person may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000 or both.|
|Mississippi||SodomyMiss. Code Ann. § 97-29-59||Every person who commits a “detestable and abominable crime against nature committed with mankind or with a beast.”||Felony (not listed but punishment is imprisonment in the penitentiary for a term of not more than 10 years)|
|Missouri||Unlawful sex with an animal, crime, penaltyV.A.M.S. 566.111||A person commits the crime of unlawful sex with an animal if that person engages in sexual conduct with an animal or engages in sexual conduct with an animal for commercial or recreational purposes.||Class A misdemeanor unless the defendant has previously been convicted under this section, in which case the crime is a class D felony.||In addition to penalty imposed, court may:
|Montana||Deviate sexual conductMCA 45-5-505||A person who knowingly engages in deviate sexual relations or who causes another to engage in deviate sexual relations commits the offense of deviate sexual conduct.CRIMINAL LAW COMMISSION COMMENTSSource: New.
The section includes both homosexuality and bestiality. There has been a reduction in the penalty because it was felt that the severe penalty was more a product of revulsion than the social harm in fact committed. The Model Penal Code recommends that bestiality be made a misdemeanor. The Illinois Code contains no provision on the subject. Subsection (3) increases the penalty if the human-victim participant in the bestiality or homosexuality acts without consent. To appreciate the meaning and scope of “without consent” see sections 94-2-101(68) and 94-5-506(3) [now MCA, 45-5-501 and 45-5-511(3)].
|Felony (not listed but a person convicted of the offense of deviate sexual conduct shall be imprisoned in the state prison for any term not to exceed 10 years or be fined an amount not to exceed $50,000, or both)|
|Nebraska||Indecency with an animal; penaltyNeb. Rev. St. § 28-1010||A person commits indecency with an animal when such person subjects an animal to sexual penetration as defined in section 28-318.||Class III misdemeanor||The sentencing court may order the defendant to reimburse a public or private agency for expenses incurred in conjunction with the care, impoundment, or disposal of an animal involved in the violation of such section.|
|New York||Sexual misconductMcKinney’s Penal Law § 130.20||A person is guilty of sexual misconduct when he or she engages in sexual conduct with an animal or a dead human body.||Class A misdemeanor|
|North Carolina||Crime against natureN.C.G.S.A. § 14-177||If any person commits a crime against nature, with mankind or beast.||Punished as a Class I felon|
|Oregon||Sexual assault of animalO. R. S. § 167.333||A person commits the crime of sexual assault of an animal if the person:
||Class A misdemeanor||Upon the conviction of a defendant for violation of ORS 167.333, the court may order a psychiatric or psychological evaluation of the defendant for inclusion in the presentence report.|
|Pennsylvania||Sexual intercourse with animal18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3129||A person who engages in any form of sexual intercourse with an animal||Misdemeanor of the second degree|
|Rhode Island||Abominable and detestable crime against natureGen.Laws 1956, § 11-10-1||Every person who commits “the abominable and detestable crime against nature, with any beast . . .”||Felony with imprisonment not exceeding 20 years nor less than 7 years|
|South Carolina||BuggeryCode 1976 § 16-15-120||Whoever commits “the abominable crime of buggery, whether with mankind or with beast . . .”||Felony with imprisonment in the Penitentiary for five years or shall pay a fine of not less than $500, or both, at the discretion of the court.|
|South Dakota||Bestiality–Acts constituting–Commission a felonySDCL § 22-22-42||No person, for the purpose of that person’s sexual gratification, may:(1) Engage in a sexual act with an animal; or(2) Coerce any other person to engage in a sexual act with an animal; or
(3) Use any part of the person’s body or an object to sexually stimulate an animal; or
(4) Videotape a person engaging in a sexual act with an animal; or
(5) Kill or physically abuse an animal.
|Class 6 felonyHowever, if the person has been previously convicted of a sex crime any subsequent violation of this section is a Class 5 felony.|
|Tennessee||Sexual activity with animalsT. C. A. § 39-14-214||A person commits an offense who knowingly:(1) Engages in any sexual activity with an animal;(2) Causes, aids, or abets another person to engage in any sexual activity with an animal;
(3) Permits any sexual activity with an animal to be conducted on any premises under his or her charge or control;
(4) Engages in, organizes, promotes, conducts, advertises, aids, abets, participates in as an observer, or performs any service in the furtherance of an act involving any sexual activity with an animal for a commercial or recreational purpose; or
(5) Photographs or films, for purposes of sexual gratification, a person engaged in a sexual activity with an animal.
|Class E felony||In addition to the penalty imposed the court may order that the convicted person do any of the following:
|Utah||Bestiality–Definitions–PenaltyU.C.A. 1953 § 76-9-301.8||A person commits the crime of bestiality if the actor engages in any sexual activity with an animal with the intent of sexual gratification of the actor.||Class B misdemeanor|
|Virginia||Crimes against nature; penaltyVa. Code Ann. § 18.2-361||Any person who carnally knows in any manner any brute animal.||Class 6 felony|
|Washington||Animal cruelty in the first degreeWest’s RCWA 16.52.205||A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree when he or she:(a) Knowingly engages in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal;(b) Knowingly causes, aids, or abets another person to engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal;
(c) Knowingly permits any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal to be conducted on any premises under his or her charge or control;
(d) Knowingly engages in, organizes, promotes, conducts, advertises, aids, abets, participates in as an observer, or performs any service in the furtherance of an act involving any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal for a commercial or recreational purpose; or
(e) Knowingly photographs or films, for purposes of sexual gratification, a person engaged in a sexual act or sexual contact with an animal.
|Class C felony||In addition to the penalty imposed, the court may order that the convicted person do any of the following:
|Wisconsin||Sexual gratificationW.S.A. 944.17||Commits an act of sexual gratification involving his or her sex organ and the sex organ, mouth or anus of an animal.Commits an act of sexual gratification involving his or her sex organ, mouth or anus and the sex organ of an animal.||Class A misdemeanor|
to condemn Star Trek Into Darkness because it shows James Kirk in a post-coital bed with members of the “wrong species.” To which we can only respond—has Swanson ever seen Star Trek?
On a June episode of Generations with Vision, Swanson explained that he wasn’t going to take his children to see the new Star Trek movie because Star Trek—and evolutionary theory, he claimed—promotes interspecies romance, which is equivalent to bestiality in his estimation:
Swanson: Do I really want to take my kids to watch a movie that implicates the good guy in the film as mating with the wrong species- but not just one, but two.
Beuhner: Well you know I could understand that Christians would get upset if it was a male of a different species. No actually, I’m not sure that the bestiality and the homosexuality are really all that different.
Swanson: So uh Dave I said to myself we’re not gonna go see that movie. So, you know, you gotta draw the line somewhere don’t ya? I mean, ay yay yay. And how many Christians asked that question? I actually did a survey, I mean I went on to Google and kind of goggled, you know, Christian sites, I mean I try not to put the wrong kind of wording into the Google search, cause if you do that, you can be in a heap of trouble. So I did a little search, turns out there was a Catholic site, had a little forum discussion on the issue. And nobody brought up Leviticus 18 Dave, and of course the whole premise of this is that within an evolutionary construct there is no real problem with speciation and cross-species mating, there’s no problem with that at all, in fact that’s how you evolve, that’s how you get evolution, and so the end result of course is that evolution has no basic problem with bestiality or cross-species mating. Okay? Now some of you are saying that I can’t believe these guys are saying this on this radio program. I can’t believe I’m saying this either. They are going places where no man has gone before. Or should.
Well, if Swanson has some kind of beef with Terran-alien miscegenation, then he has a big issue with the whole mission behind Star Trek. After all, the original series gave us a half human/half Vulcan first officer, and from Kirk onwards, the characters have engaged in plenty of interspecies romance, often to show that deep down, we aren’t all that different. But even if they have lion tails, these characters are portrayed as consenting adults. (Okay, there was that one episode of Voyager in which Janeway and Paris
de-evolve into lizard creatures, but at least they do it simultaneously.) But apparently Swanson’s issue has nothing to do with consent, and everything to do with the participants being members of the “other.”
But Swanson is no stranger to creating controversy. Last year, he slammed the Jim Henson Company for parting ways with Chick-Fil-A over the fast food company’s anti-gay stance. More recently, he’s called feminists “family-destroying whores,” and warned that members of the gay community would “burn Christians at the stake.” So his preaching is based on a rather loose contact with reality—and fiction, for that matter.
Swanson: Star Trek Promotes Bestiality, Children’s Show Superhero ‘Probably Fighting Christians’ [Right Wing Watch] and Star Trek promotes bestiality because Kirk sleeps with alien chicks, religious right says [America Blog]
Hat tip to Danny!