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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Peter Singer on Bestiality

"Not so long ago, any form of sexuality not leading to the conception of children was seen as, at best, wanton lust, or worse, a perversion. One by one, the taboos have fallen...

But not every taboo has crumbled. Heard anyone chatting at parties lately about how good it is having sex with their dog? Probably not. Sex with animals is still definitely taboo. If Midas Dekkers, author of Dearest Pet, has got it right, this is not because of its rarity. Dekkers, a Dutch biologist and popular naturalist, has assembled a substantial body of evidence to show that humans have often thought of "love for animals" in ways that go beyond a pat and a hug, or a proper concern for the welfare of members of other species. His book has a wide range of illustrations, going back to a Swedish rock drawing from the Bronze Age of a man fucking a large quadruped of indeterminate species. There is a Greek vase from 520 BC showing a male figure having sex with a stag; a seventeenth-century Indian miniature of a deer mounting a woman; an eighteenth-century European engraving of an ecstatic nun coupling with a donkey, while other nuns look on, smiling; a nineteenth-century Persian painting of a soldier, also with a donkey; and, from the same period, a Japanese drawing of a woman enveloped by a giant octopus who appears to be sucking her cunt, as well as caressing her body with its many limbs.

How much of this is fantasy, the King Kong-ish archetypes of an earlier age? In the 1940s, Kinsey asked twenty thousand Americans about their sexual behavior, and found that 8 percent of males and 3.5 percent of females stated that they had, at some time, had a sexual encounter with an animal. Among men living in rural areas, the figure shot up to 50 percent. Dekkers suggests that for young male farm hands, animals provided an outlet for sexual desires that could not be satisfied when girls were less willing to have sex before marriage. Based on twentieth-century court records in Austria where bestiality was regularly prosecuted, rural men are most likely to have vaginal intercourse with cows and calves, less frequently with mares, foals and goats and only rarely with sheep or pigs. They may also take advantage of the sucking reflex of calves to get them to do a blowjob...

Zoologist Desmond Morris has carried out research confirming the commonplace observation that girls are far more likely to be attracted to horses than boys, and he has suggested that "sitting with legs astride a rhythmically moving horse undoubtedly has a sexual undertone." Dekkers agrees, adding that "the horse is the ideal consolation for the great injustice done to girls by nature, of awakening sexually years before the boys in their class, who are still playing with their train sets . . . "...

The vagina of a calf can be sexually satisfying to a man shows how similar these organs are. The taboo on sex with animals may, as I have already suggested, have originated as part of a broader rejection of non-reproductive sex. But the vehemence with which this prohibition continues to be held, its persistence while other non-reproductive sexual acts have become acceptable, suggests that there is another powerful force at work: our desire to differentiate ourselves, erotically and in every other way, from animals...

Some men use hens as a sexual object, inserting their penis into the cloaca, an all-purpose channel for wastes and for the passage of the egg. This is usually fatal to the hen, and in some cases she will be deliberately decapitated just before ejaculation in order to intensify the convulsions of its sphincter. This is cruelty, clear and simple. (But is it worse for the hen than living for a year or more crowded with four or five other hens in barren wire cage so small that they can never stretch their wings, and then being stuffed into crates to be taken to the slaughterhouse, strung upside down on a conveyor belt and killed? If not, then it is no worse than what egg producers do to their hens all the time.)

But sex with animals does not always involve cruelty. Who has not been at a social occasion disrupted by the household dog gripping the legs of a visitor and vigorously rubbing its penis against them? The host usually discourages such activities, but in private not everyone objects to being used by her or his dog in this way, and occasionally mutually satisfying activities may develop...

Birute Galdikas, sometimes referred to as "the Jane Goodall of orangutans" and the world's foremost authority on these great apes... While walking through the camp with Galdikas, my informant was suddenly seized by a large male orangutan, his intentions made obvious by his erect penis. Fighting off so powerful an animal was not an option, but Galdikas called to her companion not to be concerned, because the orangutan would not harm her, and adding, as further reassurance, that "they have a very small penis." As it happened, the orangutan lost interest before penetration took place, but the aspect of the story that struck me most forcefully was that in the eyes of someone who has lived much of her life with orangutans, to be seen by one of them as an object of sexual interest is not a cause for shock or horror. The potential violence of the orangutan's come-on may have been disturbing, but the fact that it was an orangutan making the advances was not. That may be because Galdikas understands very well that we are animals, indeed more specifically, we are great apes. This does not make sex across the species barrier normal, or natural, whatever those much-misused words may mean, but it does imply that it ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings."

--- Heavy Petting / Peter Singer


No heavy petting - Reason.com:

"[Condemning bestiality] poses problems for animal rights advocates: If animals can have sex with each other but not with people, that means drawing a clear line between humanity and other species and denying the moral autonomy of animals...

The notion of moral equality between humans and animals is pernicious even if it's not extended to the bedroom.

As philosopher Tibor Machan argues in a 1991 essay on animal rights, human beings have rights because they are ''moral agents,'' capable of distinguishing and choosing between right and wrong. There is, writes Machan, ''no valid intellectual place for rights in the nonhuman world ... in which moral responsibility is for all practical purposes absent.''

Yes, some animals can exhibit caring behaviors, such as helping an injured fellow beast, that animal rights activists invoke as evidence of morality; but no one really expects animals to respect the rights of other living things.

I'd like to see Singer try to persuade wolves not to mistreat sheep. Gary Francione, an animal-rights legal theorist, does feed his dogs a vegan diet, free of all animal products; but it's rather ironic that a champion of animal rights would use his human power to coerce animals into something so unnatural.

Indeed, Machan points out, most animal rights advocates ''never urge animals to behave morally'' or propose that animals be held responsible for moral wrongs...

Blurring human-animal boundaries, ostensibly meant to elevate animals, can only end up eroding the importance we place on the human capacity for moral action. And that has troubling implications not only for human rights but for the laudable cause of preventing cruelty to animals.

If humans have no special moral status, it's hard to argue that they have special moral obligations - toward fellow humans or toward other creatures"
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