“Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey” is a classic tune from The Beatles’ archive and a revealing insight into John and Yoko’s love affair. Is it to say that such a love can only occur within one’s own species?
Denmark is the latest country to outlaw bestiality.
Animals. Amongst humans they are widely loved, appreciated and respected. As pets they become an integral part of the family unit, and as sentient beings their welfare is deemed paramount. Their existence is campaigned for, and mistreatment is a criminal offence for which many will gladly reinstate the death penalty for (revert back to 2010, the national outrage after the woman put the cat in the bin). They are appraised in various art forms.
They are inherent in any sort of Youtube procrastination ranging from videos of cute pugs, to anthropomorphised cats playing the piano, to spectacular David Attenborough documentaries. A dog is commonly referred to as “man’s best friend” however, for some humans their connection with another animal goes far deeper than the conventional platonic love existent between most interspecies relationships.
For many, such behaviour is already outlawed as a result of imposed societal moral standards and animal protection laws. England prohibited bestial acts as early as 1290, similar to and Poland. Bestiality is illegal in a majority of countries such as Australia, India, Hong Kong, Zamibia, Canada and South Africa. Denmark, whose right to have sex with animals has always existed, although animal rights do apply, is now under scrutiny. Danish Minister, Dan Jorgensen, has released a statement to newspaper Ekstra Baldet deciding that “we should ban sex with animals”. This decision has come about as a result of widespread international condemnation of zoophilic practices, particularly with the recent laws passed throughout Europe banning such activity. For instance, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Holland have only banned bestiality in the last ten years, and Sweden last year. This has subsequently placed greater pressure on Denmark to do the same and in a recent poll 72 per cent of Danish citizens agree with this notion.
Jorgensen in his statement claims that this is on behalf of the animal welfare organisations who argue that it is in fact always harmful to the animal in spite of the animal rights enlisted as it “constitutes an attack on the animal, which naturally cannot consent to sex”. This is due to the lack of certified consent, the overriding argument used against bestiality. An animal is not able to explicitly consent to such behaviour and therefore, in most jurisdictions, this is implied as non-consensual sex.
Despite counter arguments by academics and leading professionals on the matter such as implied consent through behaviour, whereby consent is assumed due to the behaviour of an animal varying from licking to humping, it is generally understood that the act sexual intercourse itself is always done through coercion. An animal is almost always coerced through the use of either force or sedatives, as well as the spreading of foods on the body to attract the animal; a practice adopted by the film makers of a bestial pornography film starring Linda Lovelace.
Continuing condemnation of bestiality around Europe has also resulted in Denmark being the country for bestial-tourism whereby individuals with the specific sexual prerogative travel to Denmark in order to fulfil their desires as it is outlawed in their home country. Dan Jorgensen commented on this as “damaging to our country’s reputation” however, he upholds that the main reason for the outlaw is in direct correlation with research of animal rights organisations. These claim that the harm and damage done is substantial to the animal. Speaking in VICE, a recent documentary about bestiality and zoophilic tendencies, animal rights protestor Karoline Lundstrom referred to it as “inherently intrusive” and an “invasion of their body” which always results in some form of physical and psychiatric scarring for the animal. She refers to Denmark specifically stating “I don’t think Denmark is doing enough to protect the animals involved”.
An influential part of Denmark’s culture has always surrounded such practices, with the majority of existing pornography involving animals originating from the country. Bodil Joensen was a Danish pornographic actress whose work particularly involved sex acts with animals. After a traumatic childhood with systematic emotional and physical abuse from her mother, as well as surviving an attempted rape at the age of 12, Bodil turned her affections to animals preferring them over humans. She realised from an early age that humanity is exploitative by nature and began to form relationships with animals. Although these were purely platonic, from the age of 15, this later became something more taboo as she embarked on a series of sexual relationships with her animals.
To earn more money, at 17 Bodil began to feature in light fetish pornographic films which progressed into more extreme environments as she got older. In her pornographic career she starred in over 40 movies with a variety of animals such as pigs and boars, horses, dogs, rabbits and goats. After working in the porn business for some time she succeeded in attaining her own farm with her own animals which she cared for deeply however, as finances diminished she was forced to rent her farm out to sex-tourists who would come to the farm and pay Bodil money to have sex with her animals. In 1981 she was arrested for animal mistreatment, the animals were euthanized due to their poor health state and the farm was destroyed.
It is indisputable that bestiality is an extreme sexual taboo frowned upon by most jurisdictions around the world. Although, an important question raised by academics is whether the law discriminating against a sexual prerogative is using animal welfare and public health as an excuse to do so. Is the criminalisation of bestiality in Denmark purely for the benefit of the animal, or does the reputation of the country being judged by exterior moral standards have a greater influence than Dan Jorgensen revealed?
In countries such as Australia, sexual intercourse with an animal is illegal however the distribution of zoophilic pornography is not, it raises the fundamental question – are we really concerned with animal welfare and consent? The animals being butchered for their meat or used to experiment on for medical purposes in labs have hardly given consent here, so why is sex so different that it warrants the need for legal intervention?