USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)


Joel Bignell

First Advisor

Mark Jerome Walters, D.V.M. Associate Professor, Department of Journalism and Media Studies

Second Advisor

Deni Elliott, Ph.D. Poynter-Jamison Chair in Media Ethics Journal of Mass Media Ethics


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Date Available

March 2012

Publication Date


Date Issued

August 2005


The Ethics of Interspecies Interactions. This report is written to inquire as to whether there are certain circumstances when bestiality is morally permissible. There may be a point where an animal has a sufficiently high degree of freedom and intelligence, among other things, to qualify as a willing and otherwise legitimate sex partner for a human. Perhaps the thoughts and theories of philosophers who are concerned with sex and/or the relationships between humans and animals can be used to define guidelines for such legitimate sex. Is sex between humans and animals wrong, even under theoretically favorable circumstances? The criteria for answering this question are as follows: Are some animals capable of consenting to sex with humans by meeting the principles of valid consent? Can cross-species sex be permissible if these animals are not capable of granting valid consent? Is it possible for sex between humans and animals to take place without the exploitation of the animal? These questions deserve attention and are not adequately addressed in the literature. This thesis does not address the question of whether there is something psychiatrically amiss with a human who wishes to have sex with a non-human animal. The focus is solely on the ethical implications of such an act.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment ofthe requirements of the University Honors Program, University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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