Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Community Forums
 General Discussion
 Why is bestiality illegal?
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

MisterMaggot
New Member

Fed Rep Yugoslavia
6 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2012 :  14:12:23  Show Profile Send MisterMaggot a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As an animal rights activist I don't know how to deal with this controversial issue.

Most humans eat meat, meaning they can justify the murder of animals for food. They must also be able to justify the agricultural process: the masturbation of animals so their sperm can be collected for artificial insemination, the forced mating of animals etc. If these activities can be justified by society it is surprising that bestiality is prohibited. The argument may be that animals are required for food, however any vegetarian knows this is not true.

The usual argument against bestiality is that animals cannot give consent, however they cannot consent to the things listed above yet society doesn't prevent them happening. They cannot consent to being taken for a walk any more than they can consent to being eaten.

Morality is occasionally used as an argument against bestiality, however morality is subjective and has been used to justify the criminalization of homosexuality or sex before marriage.

Finally bestiality is used synonymously with animal abuse or rape. This is inaccurate as not all bestiality is forceful. A dog may mount a human of its own free will, animals can reject human advances by moving away, a human zoophile may make a concerted effort to avoid harming his animal partner etc.

Should people concerned with animal rights be pro or anti bestiality?

H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2012 :  14:19:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is one issue I've actually been stymied by before. I don't think humans should molest animals, but I had difficulty demonstrating it because of the arguments you mentioned. Not as easy to prove as it appears at first glance. I would also appreciate hearing how others respond.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13470 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2012 :  14:56:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
MisterMaggot:
This is inaccurate as not all bestiality is forceful...

But none of it is consensual.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26016 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2012 :  15:38:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

But non of it is consensual.
To be consistent with that argument, you'd need to be a vegan.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13470 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2012 :  16:16:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by Kil

But none of it is consensual.
To be consistent with that argument, you'd need to be a vegan.
Why? Many animals are eaten by other animals. But most animals don't have sex with other species, and you know why? Because they can't ask first! It's okay to eat them, but it's not okay to violate them. That's the rule of the jungle that I just made up.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26016 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2012 :  16:52:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Of course, simply saying, "animals can't consent" to being eaten is over-simplifying the argument, anyway. Plants can't consent to being eaten, either, but vegans happily munch away, killing soybeans with wild abandon. So nobody is consistent with such a naïve consent argument.

We can dress it up some, though: what if it's immoral to kill/eat/violate without consent those creatures from which we can expect to receive informed consent, if we just ask? (This would have to be at a species level, because to make it based upon an individual's capacity to give consent would mean that it wouldn't be immoral to rape people who are in comas or otherwise severely mentally impaired.) This would make asking for consent from humans required, while pretty much all other life on the planet is fair game.

Now, bestiality isn't my cup of tea, but whatever cremes your Twinkie. However, French toast and bacon is an awesome breakfast.

By the way, welcome to the SFN, MisterMaggot. What sorts of rights do you advocate we should confer to animals? In pretty much every civics lesson I've ever had, I've been taught that rights always come with responsibilities. For example, the right to vote includes the responsibility to at least try to vote wisely. What sorts of rights and responsibilities to you expect animals to be able to take on, and why just animals, and not plants or bacteria?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9680 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2012 :  19:33:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by MisterMaggot

Most humans eat meat, meaning they can justify the murder of animals for food.
Emphasis above mine. Right from the get-go, I see you've chose a rather loaded vocabulary, which I strongly object to.
If we murder animals for food, then so do any-and-all carnivores (and omnivores).
We kill animals for food, but killing is not the same as murder. That is the natural order of things.



They must also be able to justify the agricultural process: the masturbation of animals so their sperm can be collected for artificial insemination, the forced mating of animals etc. If these activities can be justified by society it is surprising that bestiality is prohibited. The argument may be that animals are required for food, however any vegetarian knows this is not true.
I've read that vegetarian foods have low levels of some vitamins, don't remember which ones right now, maybe B12? I suppose there are ways to compensate for that, like taking supplements.



The usual argument against bestiality is that animals cannot give consent, however they cannot consent to the things listed above yet society doesn't prevent them happening. They cannot consent to being taken for a walk any more than they can consent to being eaten.
I suppose one can look at it from the perspective of "which base ethics" have been expanded upon to reach the conclusion that bestiality is forbidden.
In this case, the morality/ethics which guides our sexuality has decreed that we may not have sex with another human without their consent. We have then expanded that morality to include protection for animals.
Remember, humans still kill other humans, and in several circumstances many humans think such killings are morally justified. Example Capital Punishment, self defense, and in war.




Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Go to Top of Page

On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Norway
1270 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2012 :  20:46:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I can agree that in some parts of the world people need to hunt and eat meat to survive. I don't think anyone out there needs to be having sex with animals. There's no good reason to be raping an animal. If it genuinely doesn't mind then I don't really care. Pretty hard to judge that though. Last time I checked we couldn't talk to animals.

Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26016 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2012 :  22:00:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

There's no good reason to be raping an animal. If it genuinely doesn't mind then I don't really care. Pretty hard to judge that though. Last time I checked we couldn't talk to animals.
And there's the crux of the matter: should we default to "animals don't mind" or "animals mind?" Given zero evidence that they care one way or the other (due to the lack of positive communications channels), which should we pick?

And if we default to the position that animals really do mind if we have sex with them, then can anyone justify the idea that plants don't care if we kill and eat them?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Norway
1270 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2012 :  22:21:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
well, sometimes if you look at their little faces.... It's almost as if they understand...

Go to Top of Page

H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2012 :  23:06:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, Dave, I think you go too far when you say we can have zero evidence whether animals might care one way or the other. We can extrapolate quite a bit, especially as we gain greater insights into our shared physiology. Lack of communication means animals will probably never be able to tell us what they feel, but there are other ways to infer it. Just recently we heard about scientists who declared some animals to be conscious.

I think consciousness is definitely one factor when trying to determine the morality of an action. We don't worry if plants "mind" being eaten because they have no mind. They lack brains. There's no sense of autonomy to violate. Intelligence of the species and its relatedness to us are other factors. It seems to me having sex with a great ape is more ethically problematic than fucking a sheep which is more ethically problematic than masturbating with a sea cucumber. Not all bestiality is morally equivalent, just as not all acts of carnivorism are morally equivalent. It's generally accepted to be more immoral to eat an endangered animal than an overpopulated one, for example.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 08/27/2012 23:47:08
Go to Top of Page

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9680 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2012 :  08:11:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When it comes to animals, I suppose reading body language can give a clue as to what they want and don't want. But even then, it's damn fuzzy. I suppose it's more clear-cut if a woman allow an animal to mount her, than if a man mounts an animal, due to the mechanics of having intercourse. Comments, please.

Since 1944 the law against bestiality has been absent in Sweden. It seems that both bestiality and homosexuality was listed in the same law paragraph, and when homosexuality was decriminalised, bestiality got a free ride out of the law books. Unreferenced sources say around 20 people per year was convicted of bestiality (population 7-8 million) back then, and the greater good was served as homosexuals finally weren't criminals because of who they were.
An argument was that as far as bestiality went, there were animal protection laws could be applied instead. However, this has never happened. There is an increasing movement for a new revised law.



Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26016 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2012 :  09:30:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Well, Dave, I think you go too far when you say we can have zero evidence whether animals might care one way or the other.
Well, I wasn't saying that, I was asking if we assume that, then which way should we default, that animals care or don't care.
We can extrapolate quite a bit, especially as we gain greater insights into our shared physiology. Lack of communication means animals will probably never be able to tell us what they feel, but there are other ways to infer it.
And the risk of improperly anthropomorphizing is high, although it would tend to have us err on the side of caution, with us treating animals as we would want to be treated.
Just recently we heard about scientists who declared some animals to be conscious.
Yeah, but they're still iffy on just what consciousness is, so it's tough to take declarations that animals have it seriously. Sort of an "I don't know art, but I know what I like" moment, no?
I think consciousness is definitely one factor when trying to determine the morality of an action. We don't worry if plants "mind" being eaten because they have no mind. They lack brains. There's no sense of autonomy to violate.
Not to go M. Night Shyamalan all over the thread, but what if plants experience a sort of consciousness that's completely alien to ours and we just haven't figured it out yet? We know that in at least some species, individuals signal to each other with pheromones to alert to the presence of pest infestations, so what if they're signalling to each other about philosophy and we haven't learned how to listen in on their conversations?

Say that you're an alien who has come to Earth, but just to look (not to interact or to listen or even surf our Web). How many observations of grievous head wounds will you need before you can deduce that the brain is the source of human consciousness, as opposed to any other organ or even part of an organ?

Also, if free will is an illusion, the so is everyone's sense of autonomy, and we humans are only different from plants on the scale of our stimulus/response state machines, and not in kind. Consciousness is then merely a by-product of cells unconsciously interacting, and thus nothing particularly special about, or sanctifying for, any individual.

And, as above, who is to say that plants don't have a "sense of autonomy" when they appear to do things with volition (like a flower opening or turning its petals to follow the Sun)?
Intelligence of the species and its relatedness to us are other factors. It seems to me having sex with a great ape is more ethically problematic than fucking a sheep which is more ethically problematic than masturbating with a sea cucumber. Not all bestiality is morally equivalent...
This is true, but oddly my first reaction is that sex with a great ape is less problematic than with a sheep simply because it's keeping it in the family, if not the species or genus. Or maybe it's because they look more like humans, and so it's easier for me to anthropormorphize them, as in, "well, if the chimp didn't rip your arms off, you can maybe take that as consent." Sheep, on the other hand, don't seem to have such defense mechanisms (well, the rams can be dangerous).
...just as not all acts of carnivorism are morally equivalent. It's generally accepted to be more immoral to eat an endangered animal than an overpopulated one, for example.
Yeah, but that's nothing to do with anything intrinsic to the animals. And once a population drops so low that the lack of genetic diversity ensures that the species will never recover, we may as well eat the last remaining few. To refuse to do so just postpones the inevitable.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2012 :  10:18:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.
Well, I wasn't saying that, I was asking if we assume that, then which way should we default, that animals care or don't care.
Nether should be a "default." I think we need to start by asking whether an animal in question is capable of caring, which is something which will vary by species.

And the risk of improperly anthropomorphizing is high, although it would tend to have us err on the side of caution, with us treating animals as we would want to be treated.
High but not insurmountable. We can at the very least discover whether an animal is stressed or pleased during a given situation.

Yeah, but they're still iffy on just what consciousness is, so it's tough to take declarations that animals have it seriously. Sort of an "I don't know art, but I know what I like" moment, no?
Reality has a way of blurring the distinctions we like to make. Boundaries tend to be fuzzier in reality than in the abstract. As I said then, life is another category yet to be defined to everyone's satisfaction, but we find it a useful term nevertheless. If we start from the principle that whatever we mean by consciousness we are talking about a trait humans currently possess, we can then begin to rank the consciousness of other animals by their similarities to us. It doesn't and can't account for inconceivably alien states of consciousness, but it's a start.

Not to go M. Night Shyamalan all over the thread, but what if plants experience a sort of consciousness that's completely alien to ours and we just haven't figured it out yet?
I'd say that as yet we have no reason to regard such suppositions as anything other than speculative fiction. I don't think we need bother working out the ethics of such a situation until we find ourselves actually confronted by it.

Also, if free will is an illusion, the so is everyone's sense of autonomy, and we humans are only different from plants on the scale of our stimulus/response state machines, and not in kind. Consciousness is then merely a by-product of cells unconsciously interacting, and thus nothing particularly special about, or sanctifying for, any individual.
Illusion or not, losing one's sense of autonomy leads to metal stress and pain, which are the outcomes we are seeking to avoid. It doesn't matter if free will is an illusion so long as conscious beings are deluded with it.

This is true, but oddly my first reaction is that sex with a great ape is less problematic than with a sheep simply because it's keeping it in the family, if not the species or genus. Or maybe it's because they look more like humans, and so it's easier for me to anthropormorphize them, as in, "well, if the chimp didn't rip your arms off, you can maybe take that as consent."
Yeah, but the notion of consent becomes more of an issue then, doesn't it? Would you agree that it's more ethically problematic to rape a great ape than to rape a sheep?

Yeah, but that's nothing to do with anything intrinsic to the animals.
That was just one example to illustrate the principle that not all acts of carnivorism are morally equivalent. Even if mountain gorillas were not endangered, I think most people would recognize consuming one as more ethically problematic than slurping down a clam.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 08/28/2012 10:59:06
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26016 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2012 :  11:42:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Reality has a way of blurring the distinctions we like to make. Boundaries tend to be fuzzier in reality than in the abstract. As I said then, life is another category yet to be defined to everyone's satisfaction, but we find it a useful term nevertheless. If we start from the principle that whatever we mean by consciousness we are talking about a trait humans currently possess, we can then begin to rank the consciousness of other animals by their similarities to us.
Well, the article about animal consciousness seemed to talk about various brain structures being linked to consciousness but then said that those structures aren't necessary for consciousness, so what similarities might we be talking about for a wholly subjective experience? People with lock-in syndrome are wholly conscious but don't necessarily exhibit any outward signs of it.
It doesn't and can't account for inconceivably alien states of consciousness, but it's a start.
Not to go M. Night Shyamalan all over the thread, but what if plants experience a sort of consciousness that's completely alien to ours and we just haven't figured it out yet?
I'd say that as yet we have no reason to regard such suppositions as anything other than speculative fiction. I don't think we need bother working out the ethics of such a situation until we find ourselves actually confronted by it.
But the point is that if we're going to add the mere possibility of, say, crab consciousness into our moral equations when talking about having sex with them, then we also need to take into account the possibility of plant consciousness. Whether crabs have a sense of autonomy or not is something we may never know, and thus is speculative fiction at best, but you're suggesting that we can assign some probability to it and use that conjecture in our ethical decisions. If you'd like to assign plant consciousness a lower probability than you would for apes, sheep, crabs, etc., that's fine, but I don't think you can dismiss it as speculative when that's all we've got for plenty of other species that you're already saying are more ethically problematic to have sex with.
Illusion or not, losing one's sense of autonomy leads to metal stress and pain, which are the outcomes we are seeking to avoid. It doesn't matter if free will is an illusion so long as conscious beings are deluded with it.
Is being deluded with free will a necessary component of consciousness?
Yeah, but the notion of consent becomes more of an issue then, doesn't it? Would you agree that it's more ethically problematic to rape a great ape than to rape a sheep?
What I was actually suggesting is that it'd be more physically problematic to rape a great ape than a sheep.

Rape is about power imbalances, which is why between people, informed, uncoerced consent is important. A chimp isn't going to be thinking, "if I object to this, I will be killed/fired/exposed/whatever," they're just going to try to rip your head off if they don't like what you're doing.
Even if mountain gorillas were not endangered, I think most people would recognize consuming one as more ethically problematic than slurping down a clam.
Are there any ethical problems with human cannibalism, so long as people aren't murdered for food? It potentially can spread disease and most people find the idea yucky, but those aren't moral issues.

I ask because if it's the similarities between great apes and humans that cause an ethical issue with eating them, then there ought to be an ethical with eating humans. Would there be less of an ethical issue with eating a gorilla that just fell over dead than there is with going out and hunting one down to eat (assuming they were as numerous as cattle)?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

Machi4velli
SFN Regular

USA
854 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2012 :  23:09:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7988169.stm

If animal to animal prostitution is okay, why not human to animal?!

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
-Albert Camus
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.67 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000