Resource icon

Zoo Legal & Law Bestiality Law in the United States:

Brian James Holoyda
Martinez Detention Facility, Martinez, CA 94553, USA;

Laws punishing individuals who have sex with nonhuman animals have existed since the earliest written legal codes. In the United States, bestiality has long been prohibited. The rationale for criminalizing sex acts with animals has changed over time and has included moral condemnation, considerations of animal rights and animal welfare, and most recently, a concern about the relationship between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence, colloquially known as the Link. This article reviews the history and current state of bestiality law in the United States. It notes important differences in language, specificity, and potential punishments for offenders depending on the jurisdiction. It also reviews the research basis of the Link between bestiality and interpersonal violence and some risks associated with a reliance on the Link to promote legislative reform.


Holoyda, B.J. Bestiality Law in the United States: Evolving Legislation with Scientific Limitations.
Animals 2022, 12, 1525.
Academic Editor: AlexandraWhittaker
Received: 12 May 2022
Accepted: 10 June 2022
Published: 12 June 2022
First release
Last update
4.00 star(s) 1 ratings

More resources from Puhp

Share this resource

Latest reviews