Table of Contents

sad dog with woman

Bestiality is a term that refers to sexual contact between a human and an animal. It is considered a taboo subject and is generally frowned upon in most cultures.


Bestiality is not legal in Australia. In fact, it is considered a criminal offence under the country’s animal welfare laws and criminal law. The Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia have all explicitly banned bestiality.


In 2017, the Australian Capital Territory updated its laws to make bestiality illegal and introduced a penalty of up to two years imprisonment. Prior to this, it was only illegal in four of the country’s eight states and territories.


Limited statistical data is available regarding a potential link between bestiality and child sex offences, but a small yet expanding body of research indicates such a correlation. However, some studies on the matter note that many offenders are unwilling to divulge the full extent of their criminal activities, especially those involving sex with an animal or child victims.

Bestiality Meaning

Bestiality is defined as any sexual activity between a human and an animal. This can include a wide range of activities such as intercourse, oral sex, or even just touching or fondling. The term is also sometimes used to describe sexual attraction to animals.

Bestiality Laws in Australia

The laws surrounding bestiality in Australia vary from state to state, but it is generally considered an offence under animal welfare legislation and sexual assault generally. The penalties for engaging in bestiality can range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the jurisdiction.


In some states, such as Victoria, bestiality is also considered a form of animal cruelty and can result in additional charges. In Western Australia, bestiality is classified as a “degrading and unnatural act” and is punishable by up to five years imprisonment.


It is worth noting that even if an individual does not engage in sexual activity with an animal, they may still be charged with offences related to animal cruelty if they are found to attempt to commit bestiality or mistreat or neglect an animal in their care.


Section 63A of the Crimes Act outlines the offence of bestiality, stating that engaging in any type of sexual activity with an animal is considered a criminal offence. The Legislation Act 2001 also states, in Section 189, that any reference to an offence under ACT law includes a reference to an offence under the Criminal Code, part 2.4.


This means that attempting to commit a criminal offence is also considered an offence in itself, and a person can only be found guilty of an attempted offence if they have carried out conduct beyond mere preparation. The penalty for attempting to commit the offence is the same as that for the actual offence. If a person is found guilty of attempting to commit an offence, they cannot subsequently be charged with actually committing the offence.


Engaging in bestiality carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment while attempting to commit the act can result in up to 5 years behind bars. Over the period of July 2015 to June 2020, there were a total of 57 recorded incidences of bestiality throughout the state. However, it is suspected that these numbers do not accurately reflect the true extent of the crime, as animals are unable to report the act, and it often takes place without public knowledge.

Going To Court?

Send An Online Enquiry

“Thank you Lyons Law Group on providing me an exceptional service delivered with care, compassion and a high level of professionalism. The outcome was more than what I had expected. A true reflection of your legal expertise and experience. Thank you Mohammad and team.”
Layalle Itaoui

Bestiality Laws in NSW

Sections 79 and 80 of the Crimes Act 1900 contain the provisions regarding bestiality in NSW. Anyone found guilty of engaging in bestiality in this state may face a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment (as per section 79 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)), though this punishment is typically only given in cases with exceptional aggravating circumstances. In the R v Higson (1984) 6 Cr App R 20 case, the English Court of Criminal Appeal noted that it is the accused who require assistance, not the animal.


Furthermore, attempting to commit the act of bestiality in NSW can result in a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment (as per section 80 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)). It is worth noting that, interestingly, there were only two known cases of bestiality in the District Court between July 2002 and December 2009.


Examples of Bestiality with Animals


  • A person has sex with a goat or sheep.
  • A person has sex with a horse.
  • A form of sexual act or sexual intercourse with an animal that may include sexual penetration

In the 1959 UK Court of Appeal case R v Bourne, it was established that penetration is not a necessary element of the offence of bestiality. This case involved Sydney Joseph Bourne, who compelled his wife, Adelaide, to engage in sexual intercourse with a dog against her will.


Mr Bourne was convicted of aiding and abetting his wife to commit the act of buggery with a dog. He argued that he could not be convicted of assisting someone in a criminal act if they were not themselves guilty of the offence, but his defence was unsuccessful.

Is Beasteality Porn Illegal in Australia?

Bestiality porn, also known as zoophilia, is illegal in Australia. Strict laws prohibit the production, distribution, and possession of any material depicting sexual activity between humans and animals. This ban extends to both live-action videos, illegal pornography and still images.


The Australian government has taken a firm stance on bestiality porn due to animal welfare and exploitation concerns. The production of this type of pornography involves subjecting animals to inhumane treatment, which is considered cruel and unethical. In addition, the consumption of such material can promote deviant sexual behaviour and normalise animal abuse.


In Australia, bestiality porn falls under the category of “objectionable material.” This means that it is deemed to be so offensive and harmful that it is illegal to produce, distribute, or possess it. The penalties for violating these laws can be severe, including fines, imprisonment, or both.


Moreover, under the Criminal Code Act 1995, a person who engages in sexual activity with an animal can face up to five years in prison. The law aims to protect animals from sexual exploitation and abuse.


It’s worth noting that Australia is not the only country with laws prohibiting bestiality porn. Several other countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, also have strict laws on this issue.


If you have been charged with a sexual assault offence, you should speak to a sexual assault lawyer in Sydney. It is essential to obtain legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer.


  • Mohammad Khan | Criminal Defence Lawyer

    Mohammad Khan is the Principal Solicitor of Lyons Law Group. After graduating with a Bachelor of Aviation from the University of New South Wales, Mohammad took a keen interest in the law. He began training in criminal law under the tutelage of Australia’s leading criminal lawyer Adam Houda and studied law at the University of Sydney.