Florida Senate fails basic biology, accidentally outlaws sex.

Question: If your elected officials fail basic taxonomy, promote anti-science curriculum, and consistently attempt to undermine the fundamental underpinning of all biology, what happens when they start trying to legislate from this flawed view of reality?

The answer is this poorly-worded miasma of a law recently passed in Florida, which presumably was designed to prevent bestiality and promote animal welfare, but which has actually made it illegal, effective October 1, 2011, for anyone to have sex in Florida.

An act relating to sexual activities involving animals; creating s. 828.126, F.S.; providing definitions; prohibiting knowing sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal; prohibiting specified related activities; providing penalties; providing that the act does not apply to certain husbandry, conformation judging, and veterinary practices; providing an effective date.


I have constructed this helpful little graphic for the Florida Legislature to examine:

So if you’re living in Florida on October 1, 2011 and would like to have sexual intercourse with a consenting adult, please check with your veterinarian or local livestock breeder first to make sure you abide by  “accepted animal husbandry practices, conformation judging practices, or accepted veterinary medical practices.”

[Readers may be interested in a slightly less humorous but technically correct interpretation of the new law. ~Ed.]

Like this post? Check out some of our more substantive analyses of peer reviewed research, our recent review of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill that didn’t happen, and the role of the local guy in management processes.

Site moving too slow? Check out our friends at Deep Sea News for you daily dose of marine science awesome.


  1. Donna Linton · May 11, 2011

    Oh my God, You mean my husband and I have to call the vet now?! ROFLMAO

  2. soopermexican · May 11, 2011

    well Kendrick Meek should be getting a lot of action then… I’m pretty sure he’s a mineral of some kind.

  3. Patric Douglas · May 11, 2011

    You know, every once in a while you guys come up with something that just stops traffic….this is one of them.

    Re-blogged and sent to the major media.

  4. Buzzkillington III · May 11, 2011

    “animal” is defined elsewhere with chapter 828 to exclude humans.

    • Ethel · May 12, 2011

      There is more than one law in the USA that needs to be changed. How old is that law and has it ever been tested?

  5. Guy Incognito · May 11, 2011

    828.02 Definitions.–In this chapter, and in every law of the state relating to or in any way affecting animals, the word “animal” shall be held to include every living dumb creature; the words “torture,” “torment,” and “cruelty” shall be held to include every act, omission, or neglect whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused, except when done in the interest of medical science, permitted, or allowed to continue when there is reasonable remedy or relief; and the words “owner” and “person” shall be held to include corporations, and the knowledge and acts of agents and employees of corporations in regard to animals transported, owned, employed by or in the custody of a corporation, shall be held to be the knowledge and act of such corporation.

    • Linda · May 11, 2011

      Does every living dumb creature include human beings who are unable to speak? Babies? Fetuses? How about tomatos and cucumbers?

  6. Ms. Buzzkillington · May 11, 2011
  7. Dumb Creature · May 11, 2011

    “the word “animal” shall be held to include every living dumb creature ,,, ”

    There are some pretty dumb humans as well, so I dispute the point that this definition categorically excludes humans.

  8. Jenea · May 11, 2011

    So, um, what has been going on in Florida that made them think this law was necessary?

    • Ethel · May 12, 2011

      It may have something to do with the literacy rate?

  9. Poliholic · May 11, 2011

    “Science Geeks fail basic public policy, overlook ‘definitions’ legislation”

  10. DidUCitSkully · May 11, 2011

    That’s a regular joke with my vet, we take our dog in and she says, so what’s wrong with ur husband? 🙂

  11. Anonymous · May 11, 2011

    Gawker has sensibly recognized that this may be problematic.


    “Finally, we’ve found an excuse to fine or jail a large chunk of Florida.” -lol

  12. Lizzy Forte · May 11, 2011

    Well of course it doesn’t mean that sex for humans is outlawed. It just applies to sex with animals and people. In florida there has been a major epidemic of beasty sex and people. It strted when some people just learned about it in their churches and the pastor’s said that they should do the thing. Most are members of the State Government and sometimes even do it in state cars and such.

  13. Richard · May 11, 2011

    the word “animal” shall be held to include every living dumb creature

    So the definition of “animal” is every living creature that is unable to speak? Bring on the parrot love!

    Do chihuahuas count as mute? They can yip pretty loudly.

  14. Rabo · May 11, 2011

    @Poliholic – the ‘definitions’ legislation has its own problem. Defining animal as “living dumb creature” means either we can’t have sex with teabaggers, or we can have sex with parrots.

  15. Brian · May 11, 2011

    Because F.S. 828.02 defines “animal” as to “every living dumb creature,” this is not exactly the correct interpretation.

    Rather, it appears that the Florida Legislature — whom I will readily acknowledge to be an ignorant yokel posse — has actually outlawed sex with animals lacking the power of speech. This presumably runs afoul of the Constitution’s equal protection clause, but it also may open up loopholes for sex with parrots.

  16. Luke · May 11, 2011

    So this law doesn’t apply to anything that can make noise? Look up the deffinition of “dumb”.

  17. Arbitrary aardvark · May 11, 2011

    Donna I think you are ok.
    “providing that the act does not apply to certain husbandry”

  18. SOme dude · May 11, 2011

    Scientists fail basic statutory interpretation.

    Well, at least until the editor posted the second link — kudos on the less funny but more accurate correction.

  19. Captain Packrat · May 11, 2011

    Florida failed to ban sex with plants. Someone really should do something about those sicko tree-fuckers!

  20. Craiger · May 11, 2011

    So they define “dumb” somewhere else?

    Is it defined as less intelligent thereby subjecting most Republicans as breaking this law?

    Or if it is the inability to speak then what about those humans who cannot?

    What us scientist really find annoying is when humans are not considered to be animals.

  21. David Leech · May 11, 2011

    Well if they are stupid enough to vote in right wing nutjobs then it is probably for the best if they ban sex:-)

  22. Dave E. · May 11, 2011

    What the heck does “undermine the fundamental unpinning of all biology” mean?

  23. Billy Bob Neck · May 11, 2011

    @Captain – I been trying to get people to wise up to them plant licking table fornicators for years now!

  24. Katie G. · May 11, 2011

    [Readers’ may be interested in a slightly less humorous but technically correct interpretation of the new law. ~Ed.]

    AARGH. Never mind the jokes about the FL legislature (and that is a pretty poorly drafted statute) you science dudes had better import an English major to proofread the site.

    The plural of “reader” is “readers”. An apostrophe is never used to indicate a plural, only to indicate possession.

    Ok, now I can laugh like crazy–can you imagine what the drafting conference was like for that one?

    • Phil Theo Mann · May 12, 2011

      “An apostrophe is never used to indicate a plural, only to indicate possession.”

      We cant use it for contractions anymore? just dont seem fair.

  25. Grey · May 11, 2011

    Ummm…? Screw the parrots…, (sorry, couldn’t resist) what about apes trained in sign language?

  26. AJ Simkatu · May 11, 2011

    See http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/animal

    Definition #2 of animal: “any such living thing other than a human being”

    It’s clear from context and intent that this is the definition that the legislators were using when they wrote the law.

    • Phil Theo Mann · May 12, 2011

      Definition #2 of animal: “any such living thing other than a human being”

      Well that helps explain the ASPCA trying so hard to outlaw lawn mowing.

  27. Sideshow Bill · May 11, 2011

    At least I can still get my rocks off, until they outlaw petrosexuals.

  28. Hosie B. · May 11, 2011

    This of course brings to mind the famous limerick popularized by Norman Douglas:
    There was a young man of Peru,
    Who was hard up for something to do.
    So he took out his carrot,
    And buggared his parrot,
    And sent the results to the Zoo.
    Douglas’s commentary on this poem in his volume “Some Limericks” is well worth reading.

  29. Steve D · May 11, 2011

    The Florida Legislature may be dumb, but they’re at least informed enough to know that “animal” in the law generally excludes humans, which AJ Simkatu is, above, but most of the people here don’t seem to be.

    This is on a par with the kerfuffle about the Governor of Virginia Tweeting he’d like to be one of the 72 Virginians bin Ladin would have to face. If you don’t know the joke, which popped up after 9-11, people ought to be literate enough to recognize a pun. Just when you think nothing could be dumber than the Tea Party….

    • Southern Fried Scientist · May 11, 2011

      Thumbs up for stating the obvious!

      Double thumbs up for thinking your the only one who sees it.

      Triple thumbs up for missing the point entirely.

      C-c-c-combo breaker! You guys are killing me. From here on, everyone take a shot whenever someone tries to explain the difference between people and animal while ignoring the link in the post that actually explains the law.

    • Guy Incognito · May 12, 2011

      FATALITY for not realizing that the linked law is an addition to an existing law where terms have been defined.

      I had respect for this site after the oil spill coverage, but this post and your response to the comments to it have really put a dent in it. Whether you linked to a correct legal interpretation of the law that proves there is no story here in the form of a minor footnote or not, you’ve still effectively made Florida look stupid.

      Congrats. You’ve gotten a few more hits and gotten some more ad revenue at the expense of journalistic integrity. Have fun being a yellow journalist.

  30. Rob · May 11, 2011

    My kingdom (Animalia) for a horse.

  31. Retired Catholic · May 12, 2011

    Well, at least we still have melons.

  32. Aaron Worthing · May 12, 2011

    you do know that Florida, Maryland, Wisconsin and NUMEROUS other states have similar taxonomically incorrect language, right?

    This whole post is really based on ignorance of how the law actually works. Yes, yes, they are technically incorrect, but you are technically incorrect to single out Florida or ascribe to them unique ignorance. The fact is regardless of what scientists say, humans do separate themselves from other animals. Or more precisely, sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Thus when a statute says that a person cannot have sex with an animal, everyone knows what it means.

    Look for a post tomorrow on this, at Patterico’s Pontifications.

  33. Elizabeth Branscum · May 12, 2011

    “the word “animal” shall be held to include every living dumb creature…”

    SO, anyone who is mute is not allowed to have sex because they cannot speak…that population IS referred to as ‘dumb’…sounds discriminatory to me.

  34. Slambo · May 12, 2011

    My horse “Clip-Clop” is on Prozac over this you know.

  35. Brian McInnis · May 12, 2011

    Not really. ‘Animal’ means ‘air-breathing’, hence the name, see. You put an ‘s’ on the end of a descriptor, you’ve got a nonword. ‘Sexual’ means ‘separate’, et cetera.

  36. Rob Tomorrow · May 12, 2011

    “the word “animal” shall be held to include every living dumb creature ,,, ”

    Logically that doesn’t exclude humans, if I say the word “vegetable” shall be held to include tomatoes that doesn’t exclude broccoli for example.

  37. Helena · May 12, 2011

    Just goes to show what kind of retarded creature man is that they even need a law reminding them not to screw a creature of another species…and we are supposed to be the most intelligent of all the animals…

  38. miles · May 12, 2011

    Speaking of “dumb creatures”, I guess the Florida legislature just outlawed sex with themselves.

  39. Uzza · May 12, 2011

    828.27 1a: “Animal” means any living dumb creature
    It never defines “dumb”; so, even if the court assumes the “stupid” meaning is out, it still seems to state pretty clearly that deaf people who can’t speak are not human. Won’t be the first time.

  40. Jamie · May 12, 2011

    Upon first reading this, I didn’t think the problem was with the definition of “animal”, I thought the problem with the wording involved this line:

    prohibiting knowing sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal.

    It sounds like it’s talking about two separate things, such as prohibiting playing baseball or flying kites. For clarification, I guess they should have put prohibiting knowing sexual conduct with an animal or sexual contact with an animal.

  41. SimplyPut · May 12, 2011

    The wording of the statute is obvious to the “Born Again”. They have a special code for sensitive topics. For example, the word “unnatural” is used to describe anything female with hair on it, or anything other than missionary position sex between a man and his wife.

  42. gurasahib · May 12, 2011

    Zombies eat brains, so this will keep the zombies out of Florida, or Tallahassee at the least!

  43. WWB · May 12, 2011

    So, if you use a natural sponge in the shower. You’d better film yourself to prove you don’t knowingly wash your no-no region. I bet they’d pile necrophilia charges on you too if they got the chance.

  44. Cynthia · May 26, 2011

    Is this America? I thought unlike any other country in the world, that everyone was free to pursue happiness. If someone would prefer to have sex with an animal, dumb or not, isn’t their right to do so? What gives the government the right to regulate peoples happiness…I don’t know why someone would want to have sex with an “animal” but I don’t understand many peoples actions. But no one has the right to dictate…your God, maybe if you wish it…but not other people. sex is a private, personal and instinctual act. Please! Government…clean up the useless laws we have already before creating new ones.

  45. Jeremy · June 7, 2011

    Lame. This clearly does NOT outlaw sex between humans. Time wasted.

  46. Kelly · October 9, 2011

    It has animal defined as any “dumb” creature.

    So when they get caught banging the intern they can send the intern to jail and take the heat off of themselves.

  47. Luke Thomas · October 11, 2011

    I realize bestiality adovocates love to say Florida outlawed sex with other humans, but the term “bestiality” means humans having sex with subhuman animals, AND Chapter 828 specifically deals with crimes involving animals (subhuman). Nice try sex perverts. And why is it just about every single CHILD PORN arrest also has bestiality in their collection of filth. I pray all of you sex perverts get superbug gonorrhea and your organs rot out. And yes there is a superbug gonorrhea out there.

    • SoBo · October 11, 2011

      Poorly worded law is still poorly worded.

  48. Luke Thomas · October 11, 2011

    Bestiality is more common than you think. Gonorrhea and chlamydia originated from cows; HIV from chimps and Herp B (which causes deadly meningitis in humans) from monkeys. Kinsey reports reveal 17% of farm workers had sex with the animals. Though they say HIV came from bush meat, I tend to doubt that because bush meat was around for centuries. People also keep chimps for pets, and if you knew anything about zoology, chimpanzees become highly, highly sexual once matured, and I find it disturbing how anybody would want that for a pet walking around with erections. That’s how I believe HIV got introduced to the human population. (Chimpanzee male organ has spines on it too which can cause tearing of the rectum). If you GOOGLE “bestiality”, beastforum, zootube, etc a million bestiality web sites pop up. beastforum even has a “personals” column where zoophiles meet and have sex orgies with their pets or farm animals, in every State including Florida. Aside from moral issues, if you google child porn arrest, just about in every case bestiality porn is included in their collection. (If a person is able to have sex with a small animal, they can do the same with children). CONNECT THE DOTS! If a person is willing to have sex with a small animal, children are next. Subhuman animals carry many UNKNOWN viruses (harmless to the animal, but can be deadly to humans) which if it passes to a single human will soon become a world wide epidemic. Bestiality SHOULD be banned if not for moral issues, but to help protect public health. Please sign/share my Petition to ban bestiality as a Federal law (there are no Federal laws against bestiality!) Sign here and share please: http://www.change.org/petitions/petition-federal-definition-of-bestiality-as-obscene-and-federal-crime

    • SoBo · October 11, 2011

      Luke thomas spends an uncomfortable amount of time thinking about beastility.

  49. Luke Thomas · October 11, 2011

    PS-many science degrees don’t impress me, and ANYBODY advocating bestiality-quite disturbing.


    “A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official was arrested Sunday and charged with two counts of child molestation and bestiality for sexual acts involving a 6-year-old boy…” “Lindsey, 44, serves as the deputy director for the Laboratory Science Policy and Practice Program Office at the CDC, according to her biography on the agency’s website. “

    • SoBo · October 11, 2011

      luke thomas thinks laughing at a poorly worded law is the same as promoting beastiality.

Comments are closed.