Hartley: To bestialize or not to bestialize, that is the question

Todd Hartley
I’m With Stupid

Many years ago, as part of an assignment in elementary school, I wrote a report on Denmark, a place where I had never been and still have yet to visit. The report was filled with descriptions of quintessentially Danish wonders such as smorgasbords, “The Little Mermaid,” pastries with fruit and/or cheese and the notion that a country the size of a football field was in control of a massive icebound island on the far side of the Atlantic.

Based on my report, and despite subsequent attempts — such as having to read “Hamlet” — to turn me against the Danes, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Denmark. Admittedly, I thought it odd that people inhabiting a tiny peninsula jutting out from the north coast of Germany thought themselves somehow genetically and socially different than their neighbors to the south (it was, I concluded, as if the residents of Cape Cod considered themselves a separate race from Bostonians), but that never made me think less of the Danes as a people.

However, I now fear my affection for everything Danish may have been misplaced. For you see, I just learned that until earlier this week, Denmark was the only northern European country in which bestiality was still legal. Now, I have yet to engage in bestiality, so perhaps I shouldn’t judge, but it nevertheless bothered me that the Danes tacitly condoned its practice.

Actually, I suppose I should clarify that, because “condoned” is probably too strong a word. Bestiality was indeed legal in Denmark until April 14, but at least there was a ban on intercourse that harms animals.

The problem, of course, as a Danish farm minister noted in an op-ed piece, was that “it’s hard to prove that an animal suffers when a human has sexual intercourse with it.” I daresay some egotistical types might even swear the animals enjoy it when there’s ample foreplay involved.

So, given that loophole, and the fact that bestiality has long been outlawed in nearby countries such as Sweden, Norway, Germany and England, Denmark had evidently become a hotbed of animal sex tourism, making it sort of a furrier version of Amsterdam, Thailand or Costa Rica.

According to the Danish Ethical Council for Animals, prior to last week’s ban, there had been “frequent reports of the occurrence of organized animal sex shows, clubs and animal brothels in Denmark.” The council did note that it had been unable to verify the reports, but a 2011 Justice Ministry survey found that Danish veterinarians suspected that about 17 percent of the animals they treated had intercourse with a human, so, yeah, there probably were animal sex clubs.

(On a side note, how could the council not verify the reports? They obviously didn’t try very hard, as it couldn’t take more than a couple of hours to thoroughly inspect every building in the country.)

Regardless, Denmark, in addition to its reputation for smorgasbords and pastries, was becoming known as a place to go if you were just dying to mount a horse in the Biblical sense, and animal-rights activists were understandably concerned. Even in the American South, that’s not exactly the kind of image you want your tourism office to tout to potential visitors.

Thus, in response, a bill was passed that finally made having sex with animals against the law in Denmark. I suppose we should all be proud of the Danes for taking such a step, and if it were 1815, I would be. Unfortunately, it’s 2015, and the thought that bestiality could persist for this long brings up a lot of disturbing questions, as did the story I read about the whole affair.

For instance, the story mentioned “Those voting for the bill.” Does this mean there were politicians in Denmark who didn’t vote for the bill? That’s a little odd. The story also said Denmark was the “last northern European country where bestiality was legal.” If that’s the case, what the hell is going on in southern Europe? Actually, scratch that; I don’t want to know.

In closing, though, I will offer one backhanded defense of the Danes. As I mentioned, Denmark is the original home of the Little Mermaid, and she was pretty hot. So if you believe in mermaids and consider them animals, I can kind of see why you might want bestiality to remain legal in case you ever happen upon a flippered femme fatale.

No, even then, there’s still no justification for having sex with animals.

Todd Hartley needs a long, hot shower after writing about something this gross. To read more or leave a comment, please visit