Bestiality is a distasteful subject, but it–along with other sexual perversions such as pedophilia–are slowly being pushed toward normalization, so notice must be taken. Latest example: Yale hosted its annual sex conference in which bestiality was apparently labeled merely one form of “sexual diversity.” From the CampusReform.Org story:
Survey responses revealed that nine percent of attendees had been paid for sex, 3 percent had engaged in bestiality, and 52 percent had participated in “consensual pain” during sex, according to an article published in the Yale Daily News on Event director Giuliana Berry ’14 told Campus Reform in an interview on Monday that the workshop was brought to campus to teach students not to automatically judge people who may have engaged in these sorts of activities, but rather to respond with “understanding” and “compassion.” ”People do engage in some of these activities that we believe only for example perverts engage in,” she said. “What the goal is is to increase compassion for people who may engage in activities that are not what you would personally consider normal.” McDevitt referred to the range of activities discussed in the workshop as “sexual diversity.”
Over the years, I have documented several similar efforts to normalize bestiality. For example:
- Peter Singer has notoriously claimed that bestiality is okay, essentially just two animals rubbing intimate body parts.
- A review in the New York Times Book Review applauded the graphic depiction of chimp/woman sex;
- The Huffington Post’s resident bioethicist, Jacob Appel, similarly sought to debunk opposition to bestiality by comparing zoophilia to playing Frisbee with a dog;
When Washington legislation was introduced to make bestiality a crime (after a man died having sex with a horse), some resisted the idea. Others could only lamely defend outlawing bestiality based on the inability of the animals to give consent!
Here’s the bottom line. As I wrote elsewhere, bestiality is a blow against human exceptionalism. From my piece, “Horse Sense:”
Bestiality is so very wrong not only because using animals sexually is abusive, but because such behavior is profoundly degrading and utterly subversive to the crucial understanding that human beings are unique, special, and of the highest moral worth in the known universe–a concept known as “human exceptionalism.”… Nothing would more graphically demonstrate our unexceptionalism than countenancing human/animal sex. Thus, when Roach’s legislation[to criminalize bestiality] passes [it eventually did], the law’s preamble should explicitly state that one of the reasons bestiality is condemned through law is that such degrading conduct unacceptably subverts standards of basic human dignity and is an affront to humankind’s inestimable importance and intrinsic moral worth.
It didn’t, by the way.
I know that this is just one small symposium. But it was at Yale! That matters. So does the ongoing deconstruction of the crucial understanding that human beings are exceptional and that fully embracing our unique dignity matters to the human future.
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