But following its latest analysis the agency has come to the conclusion that stricter regulations are necessary to govern the treatment of animals.
For the second year running the government commissioned the agency to look into reported case of sexual abuse of animals in Sweden. The agency found that 115 cases of bestiality had been reported in the years 2000 to 2005.
But not one of these reports has led to criminal charges. While there is a preliminary investigation underway in two of the cases, no action has been taken in the other 113 instances.
A report presented by the agency giving a detailed account of the 18 cases reported in 2005 makes for grim reading. But the notable lack of preliminary investigations may reflect legal ambiguities.
“It is very difficult for the police and courts to decide whether or not an animal has suffered psychologically. A ban on sexual relations means that they will not have to make such distinctions,” Yvette Glantz, the Swedish Animal Welfare Agency’s legal expert, told The Local.
The west coast county of Västra Götaland was the bestiality capital of Sweden in 2005, accounting for 5 of the 18 cases reported nationwide.
One man in the county was caught in the act of inserting his fingers into horses and cows. Police began an investigation but did not press charges.
“Because an animal cannot say yes or no to an invitation we feel that there need to be limits,” said Glantz.