Florida bestiality laws remain antiquated

State Sen. Nan Rich (D-Sunrise) spearheaded the charge to criminalize sexual abuse of animals Tuesday.  Thirty-four states have banned bestiality, leaving Florida among 16 states in which citizens are free to perform sex acts on nonconsenting members of different species.

It may seem that such a law is unnecessary — that such deviant behavior is so rare that a law specifically criminalizing it would be too specific. However, the Kinsey Reports reported that 8 percent of males and 3.5 percent of females claimed to have had a sexual encounter with an animal. Even more disturbing, among men living in rural areas, this figure increased to 50 percent.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, Rich said, “There’s a tremendous correlation between sexually deviant behavior and crimes against children and crimes against animals.”

Rich’s reasoning is interesting, as she seems to be advocating only in the interest of humans when the more obvious problem is the rape and abuse of non-human animals.

The only Florida laws currently on the books that mention bestiality are protections for minors and lewd and lascivious exhibition. All of these laws are confined to the protection of citizens, permitting animals no intrinsic value under the law. This seems to run counter to other statutes regarding animal abuse.

Florida Statute 828.12.1 states: “A person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilates, or kills any animal, or causes the same to be done, or carries in or upon any vehicle, or
otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.”

It should go without saying that rape is a form of extreme torment, but such a
specification must be included — and severe penalties administered to those in violation of it.

Thankfully, the bill criminalizing bestiality passed unanimously through committee and is expected to be approved later this year.

During a Senate Agriculture meeting, Sen. Larcenia Bullard (D-Miami) questioned the use of the word “husbandry” in the bill.

“People are taking these animals as their husbands? What’s husbandry?” she said.

Considering the apparent mental deficiencies of some state senators, it comes as no surprise that such a morally obligatory law has been overlooked.