In their excellent article, “Here we go again: PETA expands its definition of bestiality“, Vegansaurus! exposes the latest in PETA’s idiocy, namely they are now equating artificial insemination of animals and even women receiving sexual stimulation from riding horseback with bestiality – and claiming that there’s nothing wrong with people fucking animals. Their post is well worth reading by itself, in addition to the article they are responding to in the Huffington Post that equates eating meat with bestiality.
I originally wrote much of the post that follows as a response to both Vegansaurus’s post and the PETA piece, and then decided to open this blog and post it here instead, so as to not highjack Vegansurus’s agenda, and so that I could speak more freely and extensively about my own point of view. I realized I was starting to stray somewhat from their focus.
I’m no vegan, and I do believe that we humans are the top of the food chain, but I do also very much believe in humane treatment of them through out the process, the lack of which in current food processing methods is already well-known and written about extensively elsewhere. Those practices must change, to be sure. I won’t debate that. I also don’t keep kosher, but very much respect the laws of kashrut that are intended to minimize the suffering of animals and to respect the contribution they make to our survival as people. There is a reason that the Torah commands us to feed our animals before we eat ourselves (among many other things), and that is to ensure we don’t forget them after we ourselves are satisfied, to be sure we care for them well. Whether or not one ascribes to a particular religious point of view or not, however, the belief in the importance of taking good care of the creatures who depend upon us for their very existence, and to minimize their suffering throughout their lifespan, including at its termination, is what matters. You don’t have to have any religion at all to feel strongly about that.
It does not take a rocket scientist, however, to realize that artificial insemination is in no way the same thing as people engaging in sexual behavior with animals for the purpose of the person’s sexual gratification. One has a legitimate husbandry purpose that results in feeding a lot more people, and when done humanely, is quite clinical and results in no harm to the animal; the other is sheer exploitation and abuse, for all of the reasons I detail elsewhere in this blog and below, and which Vegansaurus discusses so well.
The Huffington Post article is one of the most twisted things I’ve read on this subject to date. There is no way that any kind of bestiality is consensual, and no way that it is not abusive to animals, whether actively doing something sexual *to* the animal, or having it do something to *you*. That PETA should even consider this point of view is incredible. To equate it with eating meat, however, is beyond ridiculous.
Aside from the obvious injuries that occur when people do things like jam rods into the orifices of helpless creatures, or when people get their own colons penetrated and they die from the injuries, there is the problem of what happens to the animal when it gets the idea it is dominant to people, as does clearly happen with some animals subjected to sexual abuse, particularly dogs. (I would guess there are more species for which this may apply, but much less is known about the psychology of nondomestic animals and how they interact with people.)
There is extremely little written on this subject, but anyone who has been involved in pet rescue will tell you that, at least with dogs, they sometimes have to be put down after being involved in bestiality because sex is a dominance issue with them, and once they get the idea they are dominant to people, they can become uncontrollable and extremely dangerous, particularly to children. People have been mauled even to death by dogs who have been subject to animal sexual abuse; children are most frequently the victims because they are small and cannot fight back effectively..
When that happens, the animal has to be euthanized because it can’t be rehabilitated to be safe around people any more.
I fail to understand how this could possibly be in any animal’s best interests.
And it cannot possibly be consensual, as animals lack the inherent capacity to consent, as defined by law. Even if the animal does “enjoy” its encounters with people, death is a high price to pay, especially when it’s the people who have created the situation to start with.
Studies have actually shown that it is precisely the fact that people can get away with this *without* negotiation and mutual consent that drives an astonishingly high percentage of the bestiality. See the links and other posts for additional resources.
The idea that harvesting semen for artificial insemination, or a woman getting sexual pleasure from riding a horse are the same as sexually abusing animals is ludicrous. Intent does matter. It matters a lot.
Purpose matters. If done in a humane way, I see nothing wrong with artificial insemination of animals. It helps feed people. As shown in those videos, it’s done in a pretty straightforward way – a pretty clinical procedure, in a clean, safe environment, and the animals show no distress. One could certainly argue that it is sexual in nature in some ways, but there is no inherent intention to sexually satisfy and please either the animal or the person performing the procedure. Hence, by definition, it is definitely not bestiality.
How anyone could possibly not see the difference between what is a simple animal husbandry technique, or riding a horse and deliberately exploiting an animal for one’s own sexual pleasure is beyond me. They are actually three very different things. One of them is always wrong, one can be done with more vs less humane techniques, if it’s necessary at all, but to say a woman riding a horse is committing bestiality is ridiculous on all counts, because there is no sexual involvement of the animal. The lack of intent and sexual involvement of the person and satisfaction of the person’s desires rules the artificial insemination process out as bestiality as well, by definition.
If we are to buy the argument that riding a horse is bestiality, then motorcycle riders are also committing bestiality if they get off on the rumblings of the bike, or at least that the rider is doing something wrong to the bike. The involvement of both the bike and the horse are incidental to the rider’s turn-on, though. The horse is no more sexually exploited by a rider who happens to get off from the movement than the bike is, though.
Yes, it’s an imperfect analogy because the bike isn’t a living creature, but it illustrates the absurdity of the idea, and the utter lack of involvement of the animal in a sexual manner.
I’m no vegan, but I’m starting to better understand why many people are. I’ve been opposed to PETA for years, though. While their work exposing the horrors of the slaughter industries is important, I think they are fundamentally dangerous to both animals and humans, for all kinds of reasons, including just this kind of irrational point of view. Thank you to Vegansaurus for a sane comment on this subject, from a source I would have expected to be in agreement with PETA. It’s nice to know that not all vegans are insane like PETA and its most outspoken proponents, and can tell the difference between different things that are done to and with animals.
As to whether or not turkey inseminators or workers in slaughterhouses or dairy farms derive sexual satisfaction from their work and the ways in which they *do* often torture animals, who knows? Certainly many of the videos shown of many of the unspeakably cruel things that done to animals in the process of raising and slaughtering them for food do show a lot of people clearly taking a great deal of sadistic pleasure in tormenting the animals. There is a big, big difference between this sort of nonconsensual sadism and the healthy kinky variety, though – and this has much more in common with all other forms of animal abuse – and *abuse of people* – than any sort of sexuality. It’s a control game – a zero sum control game.
Anyone who has ever had a dog or cat knows that animals lick a lot of things – and many people include their lips, which Ingrid Newkirk refers to as “French kissing your dog”.
This is nuts. People kiss each other on the lips all the time, and it means nothing from a sexual point of view. It’s no different with a dog.
Animals explore the world through their sense of smell, and licking. We people have other senses with which we do this, particularly our hands and eyes. The input systems are different. A lot of people feed their dogs treats by putting them in their mouths first and then letting the dog take the treat. Of course the lips get licked; Fido doesn’t have hands and fingers with which to take it otherwise. Whether or not you personally like letting your dog lick your lips instead of just his own, this is just not the same thing as the deep kissing that is French kissing.
When you start allowing animals to lick your genitals rather than just your hand or even lips, however, or engage in other sexual activity with it, then it’s all about you and your sexuality and satisfaction. It’s not about the animal at all, except as an instrument for your own pleasure.
And this is where the issue of consensuality really comes into play, because unlike animal husbandry, for all of the flows that do exist in that system, there is no legitimate purpose for a person to engage in any kind of sexual behavior with an animal.
It is entirely about exploiting a helpless being for one’s own personal sexual pleasure – and that, my friends, is abuse, because meaningful consent is not possible with an animal, and for all of the other myriad reasons I discuss elsewhere in this blog, and which is covered in the many links.
If you were to try to engage in sexual behavior with another human being without their conscious and deliberate consent, we would call that “rape”.
It’s no different with animals. Any kind of sexual interaction with animals is animal rape, and inherently coercive. Whether you are the receptive party or the “giving” party, whether you penetrate, are penetrated, do the licking or are licked, etc. It’s animal RAPE.