A 2015 Reuters article discusses Danish laws about bestiality, and refers to an earlier report:

A 2011 Justice Ministry report surveyed veterinarians and found 17 percent of them suspected that an animal they treated had had intercourse with a human.

A 2014 Berlingske article [in Danish] also refers to it.

Even though Reuters is usually good source, I am skeptical because:

  • I cannot find the study.
  • The study was performed by the Justice Ministry even though I would expect this to be a health matter.
  • The number seems rather high.

Does this study exist and claim what it is cited to be claiming?

  • 8
    17% of vets does not mean 17% of humans are violators. It could have been only one human inflicting the animals, who takes them to different vets. Sep 30, 2020 at 20:15
  • 47
    It means 17% of all veterinarians have encountered at least one suspected case of sexual animal abuse throughout their whole career. Or in reverse: 83% never encountered even a single case where they suspected sexual abuse throughout their whole career. Why does that number seem high to you?
    – Philipp
    Sep 30, 2020 at 22:21
  • 3
    The lifetime part wasn't mentioned in the Reuters article. I would've expected the question to concern the last year as a question about lifetime encounter is pretty meaningless.
    – Sim
    Oct 1, 2020 at 15:06
  • 3
    Imagine: 1000 vets each treated 1000 animals. 17% of them each suspected just 1 case. That's 170 cases out of 1 million animals, or 0.017%. But we don't actually know how many cases each of them suspected, nor how many suspicions were confirmed.
    – Barmar
    Oct 2, 2020 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


They did.

From the report "JUSTITSMINISTERIETS FORSKNINGSKONTOR AUGUST 2011 MENNESKERS SEKSUELLE OMGANG MED DYR En undersøgelse af dyrlægers kendskab hertil" (PDF):

Table 1 shows how many of the veterinarians during their time as practicing veterinarians have suspected that animals they have examined have been subjected to sexual intercourse with a human. It appears that 80 veterinarians have experienced this, which corresponds to 17 per cent of the respondents.

(my translation, p1)

For context and in response to OP stating that such a 'number seems rather high': it is; and needs to be taken with some salt.

First, it does not mean that of all animals in Denmark seen by a veterinarian in one year 17% would qualify for the stated category.

Only that of all vets asked 17% responded with 'yes, I've seen such cases'.

The samples were also quite small and the survey methods – hm – not overly robust, and stretching over quite a long time.

Based on further translating the text of the study: A previous study from 2006 done by the Danish Council for Veterinary Ethics was similar: they approached veterinarians in Denmark via the Danish Veterinary Association's joint email list regarding human sexual intercourse with animals. The survey resulted in 114 responses from current or former practicing veterinarians with experience based back to the 1970s. These veterinarians report a total of 17 cases where, through their work, they themselves have suspected human sexual intercourse with animals and / or had the suspicion confirmed. In addition, the study mentions cases that the veterinarians are not aware of, but have only heard of others. It should be noted that the study is not based on a representative sample of veterinarians, and that the purpose of the study was not to map the extent of human sexual contact with animals, but rather to gain insight into veterinarians' relevant experiences in the field.

Apart from knowing the characteristics of the sample, it is therefore quite instructive to know the actual question asked in that survey:

During your work as a veterinarian, have you ever suspected that a human has had sexual intercourse with an animal that you have treated or consulted?

(From p8, appendix, "Spørgeskemaet til dyrlægerne" ("Questionnaire for veterinarians"))

And even with all those caveats, it seems useful, to avoid being misled, to focus on the summary of the report:

The study has shown that a relatively small proportion of the country's veterinarians through their work have suspected that animals they have treated have been the subject of sexual intercourse with humans 17% of them say they have had such a suspicion.
This must be seen in the context of the fact that veterinarians generally have many years of experience, as they have practiced as veterinarians for an average of 23 years.
The study further shows that less than half of these veterinarians have had their suspicions confirmed, as only 7 per cent. of all veterinarians report a confirmed suspicion. In about two thirds of the cases where the suspicion is confirmed, it is estimated that the animals have suffered harm. This involves damage to the genitals and rectum, and in three cases it is reported that the animal has had to be killed as a result.
The study also sheds light on the annual incidence of suspicions of human sexual intercourse with animals and the number of confirmed suspicions, respectively. With the uncertainty that may exist in a precise timing of serious cases, the study suggests that there will be 5-12 suspicions annually and that less than half of these will be confirmed. That is, the suspicion can be expected to be confirmed in 3-5 cases annually. Not in all these cases will the animal suffer any harm.
It should be emphasized that this study is not able to shed light on the extent of human sexual intercourse with animals, but it must be expected that it may give an impression of the extent of cases where animals have suffered more serious harm as a result of human sexual intercourse with them.

So at first glance or on a fast reading, the 17% sounds like a surprisingly high number. But all it says is that such behaviour really does exist and is 'common enough' for veterinarians to have experienced a few cases when they had such a suspicion. For each positive respondent between 1 and 5 times altogether over an entire career, averaging 23 years. The actual prevalence of such behaviour in the general population is not inferable from this number "17%" and from the whole report it seems rather quite low overall.

  • 1
    "This involves damage to the genitals and rectum..." Does this mean that they only count when a man has sex with an animal and not when a women does it?
    – user5402
    Oct 1, 2020 at 13:12
  • 9
    @user5402 It was a survey of vets reporting injuries to animals they saw that they suspected may have been from bestiality. Forced penetration is more likely to cause notable physical damage to the recipient than the penetrator. I suspect that they would include people forcing animals to penetrate them (regardless of the gender of the human recipient) in their definition of bestiality, but that particular variety would seem less likely to show up in this survey
    – BThompson
    Oct 1, 2020 at 14:34
  • 3
    @user5402 From what you cite that would be non sequitur. Also, look at bottom of page 4 and start of p5. Or in the clear: no. (-> If a human is injured/harmed s/he/it shows up at a human doctor an tells stories involving falling & Buzz Lightyear) Oct 1, 2020 at 14:34
  • 5
    @user5402 More that they can only count when a man does it. The other way around, you can't get evidence. As LangLangC implies, this would only show up if the human (man or woman) reports to a hospital with vaginal/anal damage, and even then there is no way (short of DNA analysis) to differentiate between bestiality and plain rough sex.
    – Graham
    Oct 1, 2020 at 14:38
  • @As an example for the type of injuries to humans: The Enumclaw horse sex case made headlines in 2005. Rule 34, I say, Rule 34. Oct 2, 2020 at 11:46

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