Zoophilia Law and Legal Definition

Zoophilia is the sexual attraction of a human to non human animals. It may be sexual interaction between a human and an animal, or a preference or fixation on such practice. It is also known as zoosexuality. The term bestiality is also used to refer human-animal sexual activity. A zoophile is a person who is sexually attracted towards certain animals.

The only relevant federal law applicable to zoophilia 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 person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy” [ 10 USCS § 925]. The military law is applicable only to military personnel and the penalty is derived through court martial. Therefore, there are no specific federal laws that prohibit zoophilia. However, there are a few federal laws which list bestiality along with many other forms of sex, which are prohibited when involving children. In many nations, such acts are illegal under animal abuse laws or laws dealing with crimes against nature.

Bestiality statutes occur as part of the criminal code. Therefore, laws relating to bestiality are found in state statutes. Nearly 30 states have enacted laws that prohibit sexual contact between humans and animals.

Many jurisdictions prohibit zoosexual acts. Currently, zoophilia is illegal in Canada, Netherlands, most of the U.S., Australia (except for the ACT), and New Zealand. Some countries permit sexual acts with animals, whereas, prohibit the promotion of animal-oriented pornography. Zoophilia is not outlawed in countries such as Denmark.

Following is an example of a state statute (Arizona) on bestiality:

A.R.S. § 13-1411: Bestiality; classification; definition

A. A person commits bestiality by knowingly doing either of the following:

1. Engaging in oral sexual contact, sexual contact or sexual intercourse with an animal.

2. Causing another person to engage in oral sexual contact, sexual contact or sexual intercourse with an animal.

B. In addition to any other penalty imposed for a violation of subsection A of this section, the court may order that the convicted person do any of the following:

1. Undergo a psychological assessment and participate in appropriate counseling at the convicted person's own expense.

2. Reimburse an animal shelter as defined in section 11-1022 for any reasonable costs incurred for the care and maintenance of any animal that was taken to the animal shelter as a result of conduct proscribed by subsection A of this section.

C. This section does not apply to:

1. Accepted veterinary medical practices performed by a licensed veterinarian or veterinary technician.

2. Insemination of animals by the same species, bred for commercial purposes.

3. Accepted animal husbandry practices that provide necessary care for animals bred for commercial purposes.

D. Bestiality is a class 6 felony, except that bestiality pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 2 of this section is a class 3 felony punishable pursuant to section 13-705 if the other person is a minor under fifteen years of age.

E. For the purposes of this section, "animal" means a nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian, either dead or alive.