Saturday, December 19, 2009

Another rant on how not all animal sex is animal abuse

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Note: as the title not-so-vaguely indicates, this is a post on bestiality, or sex with animals. If this disturbs or offends you, read no further. If you do, you void your right to complain about the subject matter, as you have been warned.

Crime & Justice

Okay, I get it. The idea of humans having sex with animals is one that is quasi-universally reviled: it is immoral, it is sin, it is disgusting, whatever. Thankfully, there is still a small number of people who are open-minded and sensible enough to realize that as long as the animal itself is not harmed, then what goes on between it and a human is no-one else’s business, period, no more than any other intimate act with anyone (or anything) else. Unfortunately, people insist on being meddling gits, especially when they’re in charge of upholding (and laying down) the law, which ensures that people who commit perfectly harmless acts upon animals, regardless of how “disturbing” such acts may be to general society, will be vilified, ostracized and generally treated as though they were the worst sort of criminals, despite the fact that they never did, or even would, hurt anyone (or anything). Except people’s precious sensibilities, that is.

I’m not writing this post as a defense of bestiality or sex with animals – frankly, I don’t think it needs one, as I don’t believe it to be an offense, no more than is any other sexual act. Yes, sometimes the animal (or also the human, as is evidenced in the case of “Mr. Hands”) can be injured, but such cases should be treated no more (or less) harshly than any other case of sexual acts leading to injury, intentional or not, regardless of the participants. They also should not be used as an excuse to carpet-ban the entire activity (for lack of a better term) and to criminalize it to the point where having harmless sex with animals is treated as though the animal was abused, harmed, or whatever, when the vast majority of bestiality cases involve absolutely no harm to the animal (and in those that do, the injuries are majoritarily purely accidental and/or unintentional)[1].

Bestiality is not animal abuse; at least, not inherently, no more than all incest is rape, or all underage sex leads to underage pregnancy. Abuse can happen, of course, but it should not be treated as a defining factor of bestiality as it simply isn’t. If and when a specific bestiality case involves harm inflicted upon the animal, especially if such harm is/was intentional, then yes, of course, the perpetrator is, and should be treated as, an animal abuser, and shall be punished accordingly. But there is no sense in punishing someone if they never caused harm unto the animal(s). It’s an exercise in futility and ridiculousness.

What spurred this brusque little rant out of me, you may ask? A particularly dumbass quote concerning a recent bestiality case, is my answer. Here’s the story: over the course of a dozen escapades since July, 18-year-old Erick Rivera went over to the nearby Goshen Historic Track at night and, well, had some fun with some of the local fillies. All evidence suggests that he never harmed or abused any of the animals he came into contact with. When he was caught after a six-month investigation, he was charged with “sexual misconduct with an animal”, amongst other minor things such as larceny (which I presume is for the bridles he took and used to immobilize the horses in their stalls during his “visits” – again, harmlessly).

And yet, this didn’t stop Goshen police from giving off the usual sort of boneheaded remarks we hear in such cases:

Village police have accumulated a litany of sardonic observations during the six months they sought to identify their human stallion. The only one Watt was prepared to repeat in print involved a comparison with the professional football player who served prison time for organizing dog fights.

"This guy makes Michael Vick look like a charter member of PETA," [Police Chief James] Watt said.

Ah, yes. Michael Vick, who bred and raised dozens of dogs and pitted them against each other in horrific battles to the death, leaving countless dogs injured, disfigured, or plain dead, and all for the money, pales in comparison to a guy who … had sex with horses. Without ever actually, y’know, hurting them in any way.

James Watt, you are a fucking idiot. What a loathsome comparison to make. Asshat.

My stance on bestiality is very simple and clear: bestiality is not animal abuse, and it should not be criminalized. If and when harm does occur to an animal, than that specific case should be investigated for animal abuse. If no-one (and nothing) is harmed, then quite frankly, it simply isn’t anyone else’s business. People have their quirks and their deviancies, some more taboo than others. If no-one’s being hurt, physically or psychologically, than let them be. Case closed.

[1] Yes, this claim is backed up by statistics, but I can’t for the life of me find them. If anyone does – or if anyone uncovers statistics that contradict me – please do present them.

(via Fark)