Jan 2015 Pulse

In a remote village in Borneo, men lined up in a brothel to pay for sex with a prostitute called Pony. What is particularly disturbing is that Pony is a female Orangutan that has been captured, shaved, chained to a mattress and used as a sex slave.

The Orangutan Survival Foundation managed to rescue Pony with the help of 35 policemen armed with AK47. Police assistance was needed because the locals and owners of the prostitution house in Kareng Pangi Village, Kalimantan, were prepared to use violence against the rescuers.

Sexual contact between humans and animals has a very long history. From their study of numerous prehistoric artifacts and cave paintings, scholars like Midas Dekkers and Hani Miletski conclude that the evidence suggests that human and animal sexual activity can be traced back to tens of thousands of years.

The pervasiveness of zoophilia or bestiality in the modern world, however, is more difficult to ascertain. This is probably due to the fact that while many sexual practices have been discussed in print media and on film and television, zoophilia is still considered a social taboo.

Be that as it may, there are many animal brothels across Europe that pander to predatory zoophiles. A recent report published by Mail Online states that bestiality brothels are spreading across Germany, where animal pornography is illegal but sex with animals is legal.

Theories about why human beings have sex with animals abound. Sigmund Freud, for example, famously argued that animals replace the proper object of one’s sexual desire that one is unable to secure. K. A. Menninger suggests that zoophilia may be a form of totemism, where the animal represents a close person that one is unable to express one’s love sexually, like one’s sister or mother. Still others inquire if zoophilia is in fact due to an innate sexual orientation.

There are also many different expressions of zoophilia. These include zoofetishism, which refers to a person who gets sexually stimulated by looking at zoophilic pornography. There is also zoosadism, which refers to sexual stimulation resulting from inflicting pain, mutilating or even killing an animal. Scholars like Hunold and Rosenbauer, for example, describe specialised brothels that allow their clients to torture and kill animals after having sex with them.

The Bible roundly condemns bestiality in a number of passages. In Deuteronomy 22:19, bestiality is an offence punishable by death: ‘Whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death’. It is also interesting to note that even the innocent animal that was forced to have sex with a human being must be killed (Leviticus 20:5-6). The human being that has sex with an animal must be cursed (Deuteronomy 27:21) because such an act is a perversion (Leviticus 18:2), an abomination in the eyes of God.

Not every country has a law against zoophilia and bestiality. In the Unites States, for example, zoophilia is legal in 17 states including Kentucky, New Jersey and Texas. Sex with animals is legal in Denmark, Brazil, Finland, Romania, Hungary, and Mexico. Countries in Asia where zoophilic activity is not against the law include Cambodia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Some secular philosophers and ethicists like Peter Singer have argued that zoophilic activity should not be made illegal because the boundaries between human and nonhumans are no longer as sharply defined in the modern world. Thus, argues Singer, the traditional religious and moral taboos surrounding sexual relations between humans and animals should be dispelled. As long as animals are not abused, asserts the Princeton philosopher, copulation between humans and animals should be allowed because he believes that the sexual attraction and satisfaction is sometimes mutual.

Needless to say, from the standpoint of the Christian faith such arguments are simply preposterous. The strong and unequivocal condemnation of zoophilic activities in the passages cited earlier shows that the Bible regards such activities as the ultimate manifestations of sexual deviancy. Zoophilia is a perversion of the created order because God had never intended human beings to have sex with animals (Genesis 2:20).

Bestiality is therefore not only an abomination to God because it perverts human nature. It is also an abomination because for humans to behave like animals and copulate with beasts is to mock at the privilege God has accorded them to be bearers of the divine image.


Dr Roland Chia


Dr Roland Chia is Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College and Theological and Research Advisor of the Ethos Institute for Public Christianity.