The Sexist

Is Duck Rape “Rape Rape”?

duckrape

In an episode of Isabella Rossellini's new animal sex series, "Seduce Me," Rossellini acts out a scene of "forced copulation" between ducks (fair warning: video depiction of anthropomorphized duck rape ahoy). While costumed as a female duck, Rossellini exclaims, "Ouch! Ouch! One of them is raping me! I don’t care." The line prompts sex educator Emily Nagoski to pose the question: "Is there such a thing as duck 'rape'? Or is rape a strictly human concept?" Are animals capable of consenting to sex? And if so, why can't we have sex with them?

Forced copulation is a regular feature of sexual activity among ducks. In the phenomenon known as "rape flight," several mallards will aggressively peck at a female duck until she submits to sex (or dies). There's reason to believe that female ducks very much do not enjoy this; the duck vagina has developed in a "rape-specific way" which allows female ducks to prevent pregnancy from this forced sexual contact. But can we compare this animal behavior to the human conception of rape? Nagoski argues that there's no such thing as "duck rape" for the same reason that meat isn't murder—animals are incapable of consenting (or not consenting) to sex:

Rape has a deep moral, as well as legal, meaning. Rape is (briefly) penetration without consent. Can a duck give consent? Can an orangutan? You may say I’m an arrogant human, but as far as I’m concerned, NO, a duck can’t give consent. (If a duck could give consent, I’d feel like a terrible, cruel, and, what’s more, cannibalistic person when I ate one. Personally, I can’t eat something to which I apply the same moral standards as humans.)

It’s not so easy to avoid imposing human moral standards on orangutans and chimps; they’re so like us, they’re so close to human. But we must avoid it. It’s not appropriate to overlay moral meaning on animal behavior; chimps commit infanticide, but that’s just part of being a chimp. It’s not immoral or wrong, it’s just . . . chimpanzeedom. There’s something in us, some apparently innate tendency, to find lessons and moral standards in nature. This is, in part, the naturalistic fallacy—the conclusion that if something is natural it must be right or good. Just as mistaken is the conclusion that something in natural is bad or wrong because it violates a human moral standard.

Nagoski's point is well-taken. Human rape can't be justified through the claim that it's just "natural animal behavior," and animal "rape" can't be condemned through our human moral codes. But if animals are totally removed from the concept of consent—and if that provides justification for humans killing and eating them—then why can't that same argument be used to justify humans fucking animals? Dan Savage turns the meat-is-murder argument on its head when discussing the moral argument against bestiality:

The standard bestiality-is-always-wrong argument—one I've deployed for years—is that animals can't consent, so . . . you know . . . fucking animals is wrong. We are not, however, at all concerned with consent when we want to have an animal for dinner or skinning one for a pair of assless chaps. So our sudden concern with consent when it comes to human/animal sex—which most animals survive (and some humans do not)—seems a little convenient and a lot hypocritical. We would all be vegans in canvas shoes if we gave a shit about an animal's consent. (And our chaps would all be made out of rubber.) And where does the consent argument go if the science shows that some animals are orientated towards humans?

The logical conclusion of this argument leads me one of two places: It's either morally inexcusable to both eat and have sex with animals, or both activities are A-OK.  Unfortunately, I'm really jonesing for a hamburger right now, but I'm not totally prepared to sign on to the idea of moral bestiality. Has anybody got a loophole for me?

  • Theresa

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T1vfsHYiKY

    Shagged by a rare parrot- cheered on by Stephen Fry.

  • Sarah

    No loophole ideas, but I'm pretty sure that animals clearly show they do not consent to being killed and eaten. They scream, run, and show abject terror when lined up at the slaughterhouse. Most animal species also grieve for lost babies or dead friends. It's up to individuals to decide whether the interests of animals are morally significant, but I think they make it clear that they aren't willing participants in the meat market.

  • kza

    I think I read somewhere that cows like being killed. If you need a loop hole, try animals eating animals that died of natural causes. Like hang out behind a vets office.

  • TT

    I think you can make a consistent argument for eating meat and against needless cruelty to animals. If you consider having sex with an animal to be animal cruelty (which it may not always be), then you can simultaneously support meat-eating and oppose bestiality on moral grounds.

    Also, I'd just like to point out that "assless chaps" is redundant. All chaps are assless. The issue is whether you wear your chaps over pants or bare legs.

  • http://bamber.blogspot.com Amber

    It is possible to slaughter animals humanely (this is the object of Temple Grandin's entire career, iirc), but most animal welfare groups seem to agree that sexually abused animals (typically house pets) are behaviorally altered, traumatized, difficult to re-home, and sometimes have to be put down. So it's less morally questionable, perhaps, to purchase ethically raised and killed meat than it is to screw your dog, since it's both upsetting to the dog at the time and adversely affects the dog's future/shortens lifespan.

  • Christine S.

    Let me get this straight. Bestiality should be okay so that meat eaters don't feel guilty about murdering their dinner. Animals can neither give or not give consent for anything, so anything goes. Babies and humans with all sorts of handicaps are unable to give or deny consent. Does the same apply to them? A thirteen year-old can consent to have sex with a forty year-old, but he/she would still be charged with rape. I could help a terminally ill friend end their life at their request and I would still be charged with murder.

    Sounds to me like humans making up laws and morals to fit their interests.

    And, you are terrible and cruel for killing any living being for your personal enjoyment.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    Sarah, point taken. And I wonder how the obvious signals that animals show in that situation relate to the bestiality scenario. One of the concepts being discussed on the Dan Savage thread is that some animals demonstrate physically that they are, um, into sex with humans. And some animals try to initiate sex with humans (dogs who hump our legs being the obvious example). But one commenter pointed out that (in humans or animals) a physiological response (arousal, etc.) isn't the same thing as active consent. Thoughts!

  • http://jemimaaslana.wordpress.com Jemima Aslana

    Actually, dogs humping our legs are not trying to have sex with us, they're trying to establish their dominance. It's how they show dominance. Notice how most leg-humping doggies aren't actually ready for a mating session, they're just doing the moves.

    I'm not sure which animals are showing an orientation towards humans. Never heard of that before. But I'd hesitate to lend it credence, because most animals can learn strange behaviours if they figure out they get treats or cuddling or something else they desire.

    But there's no doubt in my mind that female ducks are frequently raped. In fact, around here it is discouraged to feed the ducks, because that means that more mallards survive than the population can carry, thus resulting in too many mallards per female and the females consequently dying of stress in the mating season.

  • http://bikegroggery.blogspot.com groggette

    And, you are terrible and cruel for killing any living being for your personal enjoyment.

    So I take it you only wear and eat substances created in labs from man-made chemicals, or maybe rocks?

  • Robbie Jeffrey

    Sorry Amanda, no obvious loophole I can see. Interesting stuff though. As a vegan, I had many different reactions to it. I think that one way to respond to Dan's argument would be to look at in an 'evolutionary' sense: while eating meat has an adaptive quality to it (and I know this is dangerous for a vegan to write, but it's undeniable that meat is necessary for survival in a multitude of contexts) beastiality serves no purpose in human survival. It is merely (I'm assuming, really) an issue of impulse. Now, impulse control ("morality," perhaps) does have an evolutionary quality; it preserves stability within the complexities of human societies. A collapsing of this barrier of impulse, embodied in beastiality, can really fuck shit up.

    So while I would argue that eating meat isn't a necessary survival technique for someone in a North American city today, the practise can be traced back to a context where it might have been. It's not an issue of impulse, then, to the extent that beastiality is (unless somewhere in history it helped us procreate our own species...which is doubtful). Framing it as simply an issue of morality--vioalting/respecting non-human animal "consent"--is reductionist. We can't pretend we're a species operating only on principles, detached from survival techniques and free from habits that have historically served survival purposes.

    I would like to respond to other passages, but this really is a deep issue, and warrants entire books. Great read though.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    Jemima: I'm not an expert on this stuff, but I do know that a dog has attempted to lick my crotch area before, which was very much non-consensual on my end! Let me tell you! But had I consented and encouraged that: bestiality. In Indiana anyway.

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/2009/03/18/indiana-bestiality-law-cracks-down-on-deleted-dog-porn/

  • http://toysoldier.wordpress.com Toysoldier

    Has anybody got a loophole for me?

    You could argue survival. As an omnivore you do require protein, which comes from meat (and other products). You could argue morally that if you do not kill and eat an animal for survival that you would die. You could also argue that self-preservation can trump asking for consent, which would fall into the same category as animals having sex since animals have sex for the sake of perpetuating their species (not consciously, but as part of their instincts). Conversely, you do not need to have sex with any animals other than male humans (or female humans if one were male) and non-human animals cannot give consent as humans view it, so all sex acts with non-human animals would be immoral.

    As for this applying to humans, the reason this does not apply to humans has little to do with consent, but a lot to do with human socialization. We do not just use sex for procreation. We also use it as a form of bonding and socializing. As a result, we must in engage in specific sets of behaviors in order to maintain the group harmony, hence one must ask for consent. That might explain why so many people who prey on others seek to find ways to claim their acts were consensual.

  • Sarah

    While I think people can definitely infer animals' "non-consent" to things like being slaughtered, I don't think humans can infer an animal's affirmative consent to a sexual encounter. I wouldn't have thought of that language, but I totally agree that a physiological response is not the same as consent. In the dog example, a person's leg is basically the same as a pillow or other inanimate object. The dog is not necessarily trying to initiate sex. Human ability to communicate with other animals is limited, so it seems harmful to ever think consent is implied in behavior. That said, I think there is a big moral difference between say, the sexual behavior depicted in the documentary Zoo, and sexual abuse that is clearly physically harmful to the animal.

  • http://suchavegan.blogspot.com Megan

    I'm vegan, so I've, uh, I guess already gone down one of those routes, and naturally don't really think the other one's okay. :) No loopholes, I guess?

  • Sarah

    I'm vegan too! I LOVE animals, but not in "that way" hah

  • mc

    I appreciate kza's suggested loophole! Literally loled.

    Also like Robbie's response- well done Robbie.

    Amanda, you made my head spin with this one.

  • Eo

    Say no to beastiality comes from the bible, same passage that that says we are not to be gay from what I can remember.. animals dont do it for me but I wouldnt judging another for doing it.

    Animal meats a food source, I was a vegetarian until I went to africa, vegetarianism is just a folly of the privilaged.

  • TJ

    There is fault in the logic in saying that animals do not consent to be eaten. Even in the wild, animals NEVER consent to being eaten. That's why they run. There is an inherent will to live.

    I'm not a vegan, but I am a vegetarian. I didn't become a vegetarian because of moral reasons... I just got sick of meat. But I understand that being a vegetarian (or vegan) is not for everyone, so there will be animals killed for sustenance. At the same time, though, there should be some level of respect for the animals that we kill (thanks for bringing up Temple Grandin, Amber). I will also add to it that it is absolutely imperative that we honor the animal by utilizing all of it. So, we (I am using "we" very loosely since I don't eat meat) aren't just eating parts of the animal (the choice cuts, or in some cases, just the fur) and throwing the rest away.

    With all that said, outside of the "ewwww" factor of having sex with animals that aren't human, there is no justification for having relations with other species of animals. I really don't think that it is a moral issue of consent. I think trying to make it a moral issue is only for the benefit of human beings (the shame factor).

  • Eo

    If is was an amimal and it was a chlove between sex I was into and being killed and eaten I know which I'd choose.

    I think having sex with animals (that they are into) is more correct and humane than killing and eating them.

  • http://enagoski.wordpress.com Emily Nagoski

    Is it sick and wrong that a post about both rape and bestiality made me laugh out loud?

    I didn't even consider sex between animals and humans when I wrote my thing, and now I'm all confused!

    I only have sex with things that can (and do) give consent, but I only eat things that CAN'T. Fish. Birds. Vegetables. But according to this logic, I can eat a drunk person or a child... hrm.

    Okay so amendment: I only have sex with things that can CURRENTLY consent (sober adult humans), and I only eat things that WILL NEVER be able to consent (fish, birds, vegetables.)

    Apparently it's the potential for consent that matters in my gastronomic decision-making.

    This is a very weird thing to think about. Thanks for that. :o)

  • Reid

    Isn't it simple: Act in ways towards animals that limit their suffering. Thus, slaughter them in a humane fashion. And don't do it with them. Both these courses of action will limit their suffering. Don't worry about suffering.

    I do admit it gets complicated when they don't manifest suffering during a sexual act. Even without getting all Catherine the Great on you, you can consider the following:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-may-18-2000/swine-song

  • Reid

    I meant "Don't worry about consent".

  • chris

    Honestly, would sex with an animal even be that enjoyable for the human?! I mean, if someone's so desperate for sex that they're gonna go fuck a duck rather than go through the process of finding someone that likes/respects them and vice versa and all that... can't we agree that they have some serious problems? Like, never mind the consent of the animal and all that stuff, I'd say the real problem lies in the fact that a person could be desperate/unable to control themselves/dislike human beings enough to do that.

  • Conrad Davis

    I tend to agree with Savage that applying human moral principles to animals tends to produce conclusions that are either impossible to implement or nonsensical.

    Am I a slave owner because I exploit the bacteria in my gut for survival? Am I a mass murderer splattering insects against my windshield coming to work?

    Perhaps a more relevant question would be "Is expanding our suite of legal protections and requirements onto non-humans moral?" If we have taken the moral position that all living beings (or some subset, like vertibrates) get the protection of the state, how is it moral for the police to stop a human skinning a rabbit, but to look idly by as a coyote does the same thing? We'd shoot a coyote if it was attempting to eat an infant, why does the rabbit deserve less? Should we attempt to interdict duck rape? If we do, the biosphere falls apart. If we don't, it's Jim Crow times a thousand. I'm not sure those are more moral alternatives than compassionate animal cruelty laws and hamburgers.

  • Jamie J

    After literally minutes of thinking about this really very intriguing problem, I haven't got as far as a sound moral distinction between meat-eating and bestiality but I think I can maybe get us as far as a coherent non-arbitrary reason why we react differently to each.

    When we think about it in terms of a human actually doing something physically to an animal, we see that the comparison isn't between meat-eating and bestiality but between killing-animals-for-food and bestiality. And when we compare a human who's killing an animal to eat it with a human who's having sex with an animal we can spot an arguably important difference in what's going on in the human's mind. They're both doing what they're doing for, ultimately, their own enjoyment, but the one who's killing the animal isn't actually enjoying the act of killing the animal: the killing is just a necessary preliminary to the enjoyable part, which is the eating. The one who's having sex with the animal is actually enjoying the very act that's causing the animal pain and / or trauma.

    Of course it doesn't make any difference to the animal: pain is pain is pain. But we tend to instinctively feel more revulsion at the idea of someone taking pleasure in an act that causes pain than we do at the idea of someone causing pain without enjoying it, even if it's still ultimately for a selfish and unnecessary purpose. There's just something terribly inhumane and unpleasant about the thought of feeling pleasure as a direct and immediate result of causing unwanted pain.

  • Jamie J

    Actually I'm not sure that made any sense at all. Gah.

  • Emily H.

    I read a really interesting book lately that's germane to this topic, "Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice for All Creation" by Olivia Judson. It's about the evolutionary biology of sex, by a biologist with a degree from Oxford. The book explains that in some species, "rape" is necessary to convince females to have sex -- they're programmed by their instincts to only have sex with a male who can overpower them. (Presumably because this instinct makes them have stronger & more successful offspring.) In other species, rape has been known to occur, but most sex happens happens in the more ordinary nonviolent way, with females clearly inviting sexual approach. But for those females, rape isn't normal or part of an instinctive strategy, & for all I know maybe it leaves them feeling traumatized.

    "Can a duck give consent? Can an orangutan? You may say I’m an arrogant human, but as far as I’m concerned, NO, a duck can’t give consent." It can't give consent, but it can choose a sex partner, based on whatever traits turn its little duck crank, and make it seem like husband material in its little duck consciousness. One of the reasons rape is bad is that being violently accosted by a gross male is an inherently bad experience, and this may be true even for species that don't have the human concept of "consent" (or ANY concepts). Avoiding needless suffering is one of the reasons we've established consent as a standard for acceptable behavior in the first place.

    So yes, I think it's possible that duck rape is not totally dissimilar from human rape, at least from the victim's point of view. (Or maybe not, maybe the female duck doesn't really care. Who's to say??) Which is not to say the duck assailant has done something morally wrong, since they don't have self-awareness or a set of ethics.

    Anyway, I think it makes more sense for people to think about our treatment of animals in terms of avoiding needless cruelty, rather than about "consent."

  • LeftSidePositive

    "Am I a slave owner because I exploit the bacteria in my gut for survival? Am I a mass murderer splattering insects against my windshield coming to work?"

    ZOMG...I screeched with laughter!! I couldn't imagine anything more absurd...

    ...

    until....

    "whatever traits turn its little duck crank

    :-D

    You guys are a riot!!

    (p.s.: yes, minimize suffering to animals in all contexts. Besides, free-range meat tastes better!)

  • MissaA

    I agree with Emily H.

    This is, in part, the naturalistic fallacy—the conclusion that if something is natural it must be right or good. Just as mistaken is the conclusion that something in natural is bad or wrong because it violates a human moral standard.

    I don't see how the second statement is a corrolary to the first. It imposes a division between human society and nature. Such a boundary doesn't make sense to me, unless we were to draw a line between chimpanzee society and nature, and dolphin society and nature, etc.

    Infanticide is not just "part of chinmpanzeedom" it's a social practice that doesn't have to exist. Why should the chimpanzee practice of eating an infant of a rival group be seen in a different light than humans engaging in that practice? You could say, given the dangerous environment in which they live, and their spiritual beliefs/supersticions, you aren't going to impose your morality on them, but to me that has more to do with the society not being able to control their enviornment, and hence their social relationships, to the same degree that we can. But I would not make that judgement based on an artificial distinction between human society and animal societies.

    Rape is sexual intercourse without consent. If animals can communicate between eachother, then they can rape.

  • Athenia

    I dunno.

    Animals eat other animales without consent.

    However.

    Do other animals (besides humans) fuck other animals without consent?

    I mean, the way I see, them ducks just need some feminism in their lives. Or fucking praying mantis!

  • Marty

    Oh man, I love this question, and I love this discussion it has generated so far! I'm really surprised no one has mentioned Peter Singer yet. If you're not familiar, he's an Australian philosopher who's like the granddaddy of animal liberation, and he has all sorts of fascinating arguments about applying human ethics to animals (e.g. is a smart adult chimp is arguably more of a person than a newborn human?).

    @Emily Nagoski:

    "Okay so amendment: I only have sex with things that can CURRENTLY consent (sober adult humans), and I only eat things that WILL NEVER be able to consent (fish, birds, vegetables.)"

    Hypothetical time! What if, say, you're a researcher, you work with a chimpanzee whom you have taught ASL, you have worked with this chimp for a long time and you know each other well (you can tell when the chimp is comfortable, when it is lying to you, etc), and the chimp tells you that they want to have sex with you? Does this fall under the category of "something that can currently consent?"

    And what about people who are brain dead, or the remains of someone who has died naturally, or whatever? Do these fall into the category of "things that will never be able to consent?" And would it be wrong to eat them for that reason, or is it ok, or is it wrong for another reason?

  • Matt

    Nope, no loophole. You figured it out. It's both morally inexcusable to eat meat and have sex with animals. Your desire for a hamburger and your relative disgust at having sex with animals leads you to believe that there is a way to justify one and not the other. Fervent vegan bestialists would agree with you, but from the other direction. So the only ethical option is to suck it up and stop eating the hamburger.

    tough love.

  • http://twitter.com/cdog_ cdog

    Well as Emily H. said, some animals can give consent (albeit not the way we do). In many species, males put on displays to 'woo' females into choosing them. Is that not akin to consent? However in other species, sex is a painful, violent experience for females, 100% of the time. Consider for instance that some female insects actually don't have anything like a vagina, and must literally be stabbed in the gut by a male's spiny genitals in order to reproduce. In some species, like ducks, there are occasions of what appears to us as rape, and there are other occasions of mutual courtship. Some other species even mate for life. So I think it's oversimplifying to say that animals are incapable of consent. I think it's more correct to say that we are incapable of obtaining said consent!

    As for eating meat, I think you either have to accept that it's equally wrong, or if you believe your body needs meat to be healthy, look at it that way. If you accept the latter, there is still no way having sex with a duck is something you need to survive.

  • amellifera

    @cdog: Interesting point, except that nociceptors ("pain" receptors) haven't been found in most (maybe any?) insect. That's not to say that we should interpret this to mean they can't feel "pain." They'll vigorously move away from heat and try to remove acid. But we can't say that the sexual experience is painful for any female insects.

    Emily H. Totally with you. I was about to bring up this point as well. It seems clear that many instances merely looks like rape to us. It isn't rape, actually. It is a female method of determining a mate. Tigers act this out as well, where the female is gauging the strength and health of a potential suitor. Especially in the insect world, females are often larger than males. So we don't know if she has actually even been overpowered so much as she decided he was strong enough.

    Dolphins are interesting because they are promiscuous, often bisexual, and demonstrated what looks very much like gang rapes.
    http://scienceray.com/biology/marine-biology/not-so-cute-dolphin-gang-rape/

    http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro04/web1/eberdan.html
    In short, they have consensual and non-consensual sex. They have attacked members of other species, including humans. But do we attach our moral underpinnings to a non-consensual forced sex act that includes violence?

  • Mike

    Interesting topic. I have a question, is it rape when a rabbit humps on a cat, and the cat obviously doesn't want the attention from the cat? My family has had Schnizers, and the female, as well as the male have humped our cats, and my sisters as well. I've seen a video on youtube where a rabbit attempts to hump a hen, much to the chargrin of the hen. This is a very expansive topic, we shouldn't only limit it to dicks.

  • Hum

    Here's what I think:

    Rape is akin to torture. Therefore a human fucking an animal is torture of the animal. Torture is never accetable. It's the lowest you can go.

    Killing an animal *might* be acceptable: If the animals are treated well and their lives made as good as they can be (they get a better, lobnger life than they would out in the wild), painlessly killing and then eating them is acceptable.

    (Yeah, I'm well aware of the current, gritty reality of meat producing processes. The comment above was simply to offer a moral justification in a best case scenario; the way things should be.)

  • Gary

    Any dog owner knows when the dog enjoys having his tummy rubbed, and hates being given a bath. Animals have no trouble communicating what they do and do not enjoy.

    And of course animals enjoy sexual stimulation; they masturbate often, as do we. Dogs and horses and livestock are mammals, like us.

    We have a cultural bias towards demonizing sex, rather than accepting that it's healthy and normal, even when it's not procreative. Animals have no such bias. They just know what they do and do not enjoy.

    Many people will masturbate an animal, or exchange oral sex with an animal, or let the animal mount. We may strive to make a case that it's not consensual. But common sense says that it nearly always is something the animal wants. If it was not mutually enjoyable, the animal could just bite, kick, or walk away.

  • Mike

    I meant ducks in the last part of my comment above. To Gary, I don't know what type of people you're refering to when you say many people will masturbate an animal, or give it oral sex, but from what I understand that falls under bestality. I do consider that rape. Just because the animal may enjoy it, you the human did not receive consent from the animal. You're abusing your fiduciary responsibility to care for the animal just to satisfy your own sick sexual imposes. The same is true for statuatory rape. If I'm with a young lady thats 12 or 13, and she wants to have sex with me, by your logic I would be bang to rights to copulate with her.

  • Nila

    What intrigues me about the duck rape story (and I do believe it IS rape) is why the rape behaviour continues through generations if the females are able to prevent fertilization whenever they're raped. By which I mean: if the females tend to choose the non-rapist males to be their offspring's fathers, how come the rape behaviour doesn't die out with their ducklings? Is it that sometimes ALL the males are rapists, and the females have no real choice? So sad!

    With ducks, the rape behaviour is innate and not learned; it's not a case of rape culture, in other words. But with species that do have a culture (humans, chimps, baboons, etc.), violence is taught, meaning that non-violence can be taught too. There's a wonderful study by Robert Sapolsky, who found that when all the alpha males of an East African baboon tribe died through a freak incident, the non-aggressive culture of the remaining males and females spread and STAYED through the next several generations. Even when new males came to the tribe, they learned not to fight. They actually started cooperating and grooming each other, which alphas never do! You might say that they began to see violence as wrong. I think you can call that the acquisition of an animal morality...

  • Gary

    Statutory rape laws exist to punish rape which is not forced or harmful. Where the law says that only an 18-year-old may consent, a 17-year-old's partner is punished regardless of the desires, consent, or happiness of the people involved.

    Of course, those laws impose an arbitrary age limit, as the age varies widely. There are other statutes for punishing forcible rape, assault, and injurious behavior. Statutory rape laws are written solely to impose a moral code, not to protect the safety or happiness of individuals.

    Bestiality laws are similarly enforcement of a moral code, not protection of animals, as the laws intentionally ignore the safety and happiness of the animals. Indeed, the rules never exclude any behavior desired by commercial breeders or by people who raise animals for slaughter.

    There must be separate laws concerned with cruelty to animals, since sex itself is far more often enjoyable than cruel, and morality laws are uninterested in the safety, desires, or happiness of the individuals affected.

  • DanceDreaming

    Hum,

    Well, there actually is some pretty strong evidence that non-humans do, occasionally, really desire, enjoy and possibly even 'consent' enthusiastically to sex with humans. Not into bestiality myself, but I think a male non-human who mounts a human who 'presents' can reasonably be thought of to consent. Other situations can be similar. Verbal consent, though preferred, is not a requirement for enthusiastic consent.

    Broad illegalization of sex with sexually mature 'under-age' people has always been, in my mind, a sort of tricky thing. It's there to prevent what might otherwise be widespread horribly coercive behavior. Which is very important. Yet it also denies agency to mature, yet under-age people, denies them ownership of their own bodies, under law. Young people's bodies are legally owned, as shared property, by their parents and the state.

    I suppose since the same is true of non-humans(both bodily ownership and the likelihood of coercion), laws against bestiality make sense. From a broad social ethics POV.

    But on individual ethics levels, if asked which I thought was more unethical between eating meat(when other healthy options are available), and clearly mutually desired sex with an a non-human, I'd say the former. So, yeah, no loophole I can see, given we live in a circumstance where other options exist and you simply eat meat for pleasure's sake. Put another way, which is more unethical, an adult having sex with a teenager, who cannot legally consent but in other way clearly expresses enthusiastic consent? Or the same adult killing and eating that teenager because they had a craving for teenburger?

    Best bet? Do neither. Otherwise become comfortable with a degree of cognitive dissonance for your hamburgers. Or accept bestiality with your burger.

    As to Conrad Davis suggesting that if we expanded [some]protections/rights to a [larger]subset of animals we would have to deal with irrationality of protecting rabbits from foxes, I disagree. Human law governs human behavior. And gives humans rights to protect themselves and their chosen kin, and enact certain justice against wrong to themselves or their kin. One can limit human behavior toward other animals without limiting the behavior of non-humans, without any contradiction. Much like it can restrict adults from sex with teenagers(due to an impossibility of otherwise adjudicating coercion) without considering sex between 2 teenagers to be statutory rape.

    Besides this, the point is already invalidated by the fact that we -do- give certain legal protections to non-humans. Hence anti-bestiality laws, and for that matter, other animal cruelty laws.

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