Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dutch ban bestiality

I've copped some flack at David Farrar's blog for bemoaning this. Clearly the Netherlands is having a bit of an attack of the conservative bug. Of course the bestiality porn/sex show industry will simply move east (pity Prague).
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Yes I blog too much about bestiality, since I wrote about it here and here. My key point in doing so is that the law shouldn't be involved when it is about "yuck" not harm.
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Some of the points are funny if this wasn't about people being imprisoned. Some talk about raping animals, neglecting that the law doesn't distinguish between consent or non consent, besides animals don't give consent to be farmed and slaughtered, or have their milk taken do they? You can see the oddity of that argument.
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My point is simple:
1. If it is your animal and you catch someone interfering with it, it's your property, trespass law should suffice. Most farmers facing this "issue" have that remedy.
2. If it is your animal or you have the owner's permission, you can do with it as you see fit, but not inflict cruelty or wanton neglect.
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Like I said in the thread, I knew a woman who had received oral pleasure from a dog when she was younger. That is a criminal offence, as ridiculous as that may be. I know it disgusts many, and I have no interest in having sex with animals at all - but disgusting things are not the realm of the criminal law. The criminal law is about rights, and animals don't have those - there is only a duty of care for humans who own them. Besides, if you really think people who engage in it are sick then the last thing you need is for the criminal law to be involved.
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UPDATE: For clarity. The key thing is this - not having something a crime does not condone it. Here is a list of practices that are not illegal, but are not endorsed by the state:

- Eating rotten food;
- Drinking milk that is off;
- Smoking lawn clippings;
- Piercing your tongue;
- Tattooing your partner's image on your face;
- Having groupsex;
- Eating lightbulbs;
- Drinking urine;
- Smoking pencil sharpenings;
- Piercing your genitalia;
- Having naked photos taken of you and placed online;
- Getting tied up, spanked and whipped;
- Eating lint;
- Drinking wallpaper paste;
- Inserting objects inside any of your orifices;
- Sniffing dust from your carpet;
- Masturbating into a sock;
- Sitting at the airport sniffing aircraft fumes;
- Tasting battery terminals;
- Dressing your animals as clowns;
- Eating any of your bodily fluids;
- Wearing a different shoe on each foot;
- Yodelling while frying a sponge;
- Dripping hot wax on someone's nipples;
- Drinking liquor from a woman's genitals;
... et cetera.


9 comments:

Daniel Bell said...

Where does this duty of care come from? Does this apply to other property?

libertyscott said...

It is a moral obligation when a human being obtain property rights in an animal to not let it suffer unduly. Otherwise it is acceptable to buy animals and torture them for your own pleasure.

However, it can hardly apply to your car.

Feel free to assert a right to buy a dog and let it starve to death or cut its limbs off or insert firecrackers in it.

The key point is this - is it acceptable to intentionally or recklessly inflict pain or suffering on an animal you own?

Gekko said...

"The key point is this - is it acceptable to intentionally or recklessly inflict pain or suffering on an animal you own?"

If animals have no rights then yes. They are simply chattels and property to be used (or abused) as the owner prefers. I don't see how you can argue that they are property and then put an arbitrary limit on the use of that property by the owner.

If you argue that (as living entities) they are objectively different from my car in what I am allowed to do with them then you have to say why this is so. If what I do to them has to be limited because of their status as living beings then that suggests that they have rights that the car does not - or at least I have no positive right to do certain things to them that I can do to my car.

I think that is a slippery slope because you will then have to define what positive rights I do have with respect to the animal. If I can't cause it pain then what about distress? How do I know it's distressed if I try to have sex with it? Or have it's glands sucked to provide food for me etc etc etc.

As seems usual (yet somehow unecessary) in these discussions none of the above is intended to suggest that I want to harm animals in any way. I simply want to understand where your delineation of 'rights' of animals vs. their status as pure property stands.

libertyscott said...

Gekko- The threshold with animals is due purely because they can feel pain. Below a certain threshold in evolution they can't, but few own animals below that threshold.

Animals have no rights per se, as they can't conceive of them.

However, the duty of care I believe in is not to unduly inflict pain upon them or suffer. It is worthy of debate, because my reaction to people torturing animals mindlessly is that this is unacceptable in a society that is about non-initiation of force and abhorrence of violence.

The line would need to be drawn by species, and a threshold. If your dog is sick you don't have an obligation to make him well, but you don't have a right to pull his nails and teeth out, set fire to him etc etc.

Gekko said...

"However, the duty of care I believe in is not to unduly inflict pain upon them or suffer."
OK, but it seems to me that you are in effect saying that the creature has the right to be free of pain, or that I don't have the positive right to inflict pain upon it, which conflicts with the idea of animals as pure property with no inherent rights.
However if you are only saying that you find the idea of people inflicting pain on their animals reprehensible then that view must surely fall into the same 'yuk' bucket as you yourself would have others do with their own dislikes of certain behaviour towards animals.

"my reaction to people torturing animals mindlessly is that this is unacceptable in a society that is about non-initiation of force and abhorrence of violence."
A view I agree wholeheatedly with believe me, but my personal preferences are irrelevant in the consdieration of what others may legitimately do with their property. If animals do not have rights then surely inflicting pain upon them (however abhorrent the idea is to most of us) is no different from a property rights pov to riding them, milking them, shagging them or selling them.

Tony said...

This is an argument seems to have gone from the core argument (that is if it is legal to kill an animal, why can you not have sex with it ?) to a black and white argument around whether animals (as property) have no rights at all.

Common Law uses approaches like the Reasonbable Man Test to deal with this situation without compromising the core value of the law. In the end, laws are to common base rules needed to make society work (with various proponents arguing what IS a workable society).

In our western style society you can say that animals have rights to be protected from torture and therefore deserve protection under the law. You can put forward a rational argument as to why (such as high order animals are like children in that they are not concious of rights but, because humans related closely to both of them, they still gain some rights). Exactly which animals and circumstances apply is very difficult to define any clearer than "a reasonable man would say ...". So having sex with an animal may be legal IF it does not constitute torture of that animal (lets not go into details).

So lets seperate the principles being discussed from how far you can push the principle :)

Gekko said...

"This is an argument seems to have gone from the core argument (that is if it is legal to kill an animal, why can you not have sex with it ?) to a black and white argument around whether animals (as property) have no rights at all."
Well yes it has in this case because I think one depends upon the other. If the law depends on just being 'reasonable' then you are lost as that is not an objective way to measure right or wrong. Many other comments on other blogs on this same subject seem to consider that it is perfectly 'reasonable' to ban animal sex as any 'reasonable' person would find the whole concept objectionable. Fair enough but that is simply an emotionally driven opinion.

Scott has predictably taken a rational view based on the concepts of freedom and property (well done). But if that view is to hold water and not just be a personal preference at a different point along the scale then I would like to understand the implications of taking such a rights-based view.

So yes, while I can understand that this seems like pointless extremism to some I think it is fundamental to understanding the formulation of this view. If you are going to argue that animals are property then it should be clear what that entails so that if you are going to compromise you understand what you are compromising from. If animals have no rights then, following Scott's view, why should they be treated any differently from any other kind of property? If they should, then why? Is it because of some attribute inherent to living beings (rights?) or is it simply Scott's own 'yuk' factor, in which case he should take his own advice to others.

In the context of the article (i.e. the use of force to prevent a particular use of one's own property) I think the distinction is important and shouldn't be avoided just because it is difficult. Once the principle is clear (and I don't believe it is until this point is resolved) then you can then decide whether that principle is reasonable or not. If law is to be objectively made based on rights, then we should be clear who (or what) does or doesn't have rights. If animals don't have rights then I can see no defendable basis for preventing people causing pain to their animals, no matter how objectionable that may be to the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Beastiality.
Young and warm and wild and free.

(oops sorry, meant to post on the Billy Bragg forum)

Anonymous said...

Very interesting presentation on the property status of animals. I challenge you all to watch it. It may tell you something about yourself that you didn't know, or it will confirm what you already do know. Either way it will make you think. hopefully in a way you have never thought before.
Check it out. Go on. I dare you.
http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/index.php?page_id=42