Giovanni Lanfranco, Leda and the Swan, 1649-1734.

Overall, it could be said the government’s intervention and criminalization of bestiality was a result of centuries of unsuccessful attempts by the Church. However, this does not conclude that English Parliament was successful in establishing a boundary despite introduction capital punishment. In fact, just as the Church had inadvertently introduced questions of consent, Parliament created more questions concerning ideas of animal consciousness and legal entities. Church teachings that had been carefully cultivated and disseminated through sermons and stories for centuries in an effort to define a boundary that would separate man and animal. Even with its eventual criminalization the boundary remained undetermined.

Further research is necessary for the following: examining the impact of lycanthropy on King Henry VIII’s decision to establish bestiality as a legal matter and a more in-depth investigation into animal philosophy in early modern England to provide further context for religious questions concerning animal consent. The discourse surrounding animal conciousness in the 19th century needs further examination. Lastly, research into order to answer why this law, enacted under a Protestant King, was repealed two decades later under a Catholic Queen.