Though religious and "crime against nature" arguments may still be used to justify this, today the central issue is the ability of non-human animals to give consent: it is argued that sex with animals is inherently abusive.
It shows a man with an exaggerated, erect penis juxtaposed with a goat.
However, there is some doubt that the two figures are contemporary; while the goat is depicted in characteristic palaeolithic style, the scene may have been altered in a later period with the insertion of the human figure.
From the Neolithic onwards, images of zoophilia are slightly more common.
Examples are found at Coren del Valento, a cave in Val Camonica, Italy, containing rock art dating from 10,000 BCE to as late as the Middle Ages, one depicting a man penetrating a horse, Only the latter legend includes actual copulation between Leda and Zeus in his animal form, but depictions of this act, fairly uncommon in antiquity, became a popular motif in classicising Renaissance art, contributing to a lasting prominence in Western culture.
Conversely, Plutarch and Virgil make similar accusations of the Greeks, with Plutarch writing in his Discourse on the Reason of Beasts that they committed "very frequently and in many places great outrages, disorders and scandals against nature, in the matter of this pleasure of love; for there are men who have loved she-goats, sows and mares." Despite their place in mythology and literature, actual acts of bestiality were probably as uncommon in antiquity as they are today.
The Hebrew Bible imposes the death penalty on both the human and animal parties involved in an act of bestiality: "if a man has sexual relations with an animal, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the animal." The Synod of Ancyra in 313–316 discussed the position of the church with regard to bestiality at length and two of the resulting twenty-five canons addressed it: the sixteenth canon described the penance and level of restrictions to be applied to various age groups for committing bestiality; the seventeenth canon prohibited all lepers from praying inside church if they had committed bestiality while they suffered from leprosy.In the Church-oriented culture of the Middle Ages, zoosexual activity was met with execution, typically burning, and death to the animals involved either the same way or by hanging.and several ancient authors purported to document it as a regular, accepted practice – albeit usually in "other" cultures.Explicit legal prohibition of human sexual contact with animals is a legacy of the Abrahamic religions: There are several examples known from medieval Europe of people and animals executed for committing bestiality.With the Age of Enlightenment, bestiality was subsumed with other sexual "crimes against nature" into civil sodomy laws, usually remaining a capital crime.Bestiality remains illegal in most countries and condoned in none.