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This makes Kansas an outlier. The overwhelming majority of states that use similar laws to criminalize sex between animals and humans provide precisely such an exemption.
For decades, the meat industry in America has been running up against the contradictions in how Americans conceptualize animal cruelty. A growing of Americans claim to care about animal welfare and support animal welfare legislation. But the average American consumes over pounds of flesh and pounds of dairy products each year, most of it sourced from animals raised on concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, or fattened on concentrated feedlots.
Farmed animals have few meaningful legal protections and are routinely subject to forced confinement, painful practices like castration and tail-docking, and sexually invasive interventions such as artificial insemination. How Americans claim they want to treat animals and how American animals are actually treated are two very different things, and in bestiality laws, these contradictions are laid bare. Surely when the Kansas legislature voted to prohibit criminal sodomy init did not intend to ban artificial insemination.
This would make virtually every farm in the state a hotbed of bestiality. The unsavory reality is that the labyrinthine structure of American bestiality laws derives from a contradiction most consumers would find unpalatable: Many people wish to protect animals from abuse, but the system of industrial meat and dairy production they patronize depends upon practices that would not only horrify them if they were done to dogs and cats but would often be patently illegal. If animal farming had to confront the cruelty of the insemination practices by which its product is created, cheap meat and milk production would be impossible.
Anti-bestiality laws have a long and twisted history.Fuck Horse
Among those acts, bestiality was the most severely punished, and it resulted in at least seven executions. Colonists believed that bestiality was a violation of a divinely established natural order and, thus, they executed not only the human transgressors but also animals, which were seen as conspirators in, rather than victims of, the crime.
But these anti-sodomy laws, written in rather figurative language, were flexible and evolved alongside changing sexual mores. By the mid-nineteenth century, courts turned to sodomy statutes to prosecute cases of sexual assault with male victims nineteenth-century rape statutes were written to criminalize only sexual assault against women.
When many states in the latter half of the twentieth century repealed sodomy statutes now primarily associated with homophobia, they also—in the process—axed the anti-bestiality laws.
Sparked by equal parts horror and embarrassment when sensational cases of interspecies sex could not be prosecuted, state legislatures then moved to recriminalize it. With the assistance of the Humane Society of the United States27 states have enacted specific anti-bestiality statutes since Bestiality remains legal in four states Wyoming, West Virginia, New Mexico, and Hawaiiwhile 19 other states have statutes that date to the nineteenth century or even the Colonial period.
These new statutes are distinct from older sodomy statutes in that they define the proscribed acts with precision.
They apply the legal definitions for sexual contact found elsewhere in criminal codes to circumstances where one party is an animal, usually as in Kansas defining it as any contact between the body, genitals, or wielded object of a human and the genitals of an animal. Cognitive dissonance has haunted these statutes from their inception: Bestiality, a highly stigmatized act, lends itself well to loud denunciations but not so much to moral consistency.
As the laws were evolving, so was agriculture. While the meat industry had been dominated by consolidated, high-volume slaughter and processing since the nineteenth century, pro-big-farming government policy and corporate agribusiness-backed regulations accelerated this trend and spread it throughout the farming world in the late twentieth. Consolidation and ever-tightening margins drove the meat industry to discover new efficiencies and untapped profits in the bodies of livestock animals. Artificial insemination stands out as a uniquely powerful technology to standardize animal reproduction.
It allows farms both to produce homogeneous animals and to standardize the breeding process itself, removing the inconvenience and unpredictability of letting animals breed the old-fashioned way. For example, it allows factory farms to sync the estrous cycles of entire barns of animals, which, in turn, maximizes the efficiency of impregnation, gestation, and birthing. And refrigeration means that particularly valuable animals often continue to stud even long after they have died and been ground into sausage.
Artificial insemination was first developed to improve the productivity of dairy cattle immediately after World War II. Dairy cattle must be continually impregnated to give milk and must be spatially confined to be milked. These logistical details made artificial insemination a good fit for most dairy farms, and farmers could expect to offset its higher capital and labor costs with considerable productivity gains. Bythe practice had become the dairy industry standard in the U.
By the s, it was also increasingly used in turkey production, where it helped farmers manage low fertility rates and the unusual seasonality of demand imposed by Thanksgiving. Pork and beef producers saw little promise in the technology until CAFOs farming—which was pioneered with chicken megafarms as early as the s—began to dominate pork and dairy production starting in the s.
CAFOs, in which animals—rather than grazing or foraging as naturally inclined—are raised in tightly confined quarters, meant that animal reproduction could be centralized on a smaller of high-volume breeding farms. Wage-laborers could then cheaply inseminate an endless stream of animals, creating the economies of scale needed to make artificial insemination profitable. By the s, it was making inro in the pork industry; byit was employed on 70 percent of farms.
Only in broiler chicken production is artificial insemination still relatively rare. Chickens, the most-eaten animal in America, are bred in such massive quantities and have such high fertility that for now the technology has not been seen as cost-effective; but even there, experts speculate that it is only a matter of time before industry consolidation, the cheapness of the technology, and the production gains it enables push the industry past a tipping point.
To put it bluntly, artificial insemination is so pervasive in industrial agriculture that, if it were prohibited over concerns for animal welfare, much industrial meat and dairy production would grind to a halt overnight. The legal distinction between artificial insemination and bestiality was not a foregone conclusion.
Rather, it is the product of the lobbying power of large farms. As state legislatures began proposing anti-bestiality laws in the s, the agriculture lobby r epeatedly opposed the bills due largely to concerns they would criminalize artificial insemination. Missouri offered a particularly clear example of the process.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, a rancher named Morris Westfall, feared that the law would be used to prosecute veterinarians and farmers who harvested semen from bulls and artificially inseminated cows. Westfall blocked another version of the bill in Of the 27 states that have enacted bestiality statutes since24 include nearly identical exemptions for animal husbandry.
With the exemptions included, agricultural interests in many states have gone from covertly opposing anti-bestiality bills to either staying mum or even lobbying for them —an alleged of their commitment to animal welfare. Artificial insemination is a clinical and detached term for a practice that involves invasive and sustained bodily contact between humans and animals.
If modern farms are factories, breeding animals are reproductive machines, micromanaged to maximize their fecundity. The volume and standardization of livestock on modern farms makes artificial insemination profitable, but it can only be profitably managed through ongoing systematic cruelty. After insemination, workers on some farms inject sows with drugs to ensure farrowing occurs at precisely days and within regular working hours. Humans will generally also be present to midwife the ever-larger litters: Intensive selective breeding has pushed sow fertility well beyond what pig bodies can naturally sustain.
As for the sows, when they do not immediately return to estrus, they are sometimes fed or injected drugs to jump-start their cycles again. After a few cycles of this, when their sexual organs wear out or lose productivity, sows will be killed and their used-up bodies, unfit for full cuts of meat, will be ground up for pepperoni or pet food. The co-evolution of CAFOs and artificial insemination have made the two difficult to disentangle.
Feedlot-style farming is what made the technology cost-effective in the first place. And artificial insemination, in turn, has expanded the production capacities of industrial agriculture; with razor-thin profit margins, farms that resist the technology and other high-production practices are destined for obsolescence. Meat and dairy production currently for Many Americans claim to care about animal welfare but are a bit hazy on the specifics.
Some, like Arpaio, may imagine that animal abuse involves a few sadistic bad apples engaging in the sorts of brazen cruelty that animal rights groups often expose through undercover videos. The reality is that conventional animal agriculture is routinely abusive in ways that are perfectly legal.Free Will: The Circus Act - Kerry Howley \u0026 Richard Rodriguez
The U. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of only applies to slaughterhouses and is spottily enforced. As a result, animal welfare is in the hands of states, where the political heft of the meat industry ensures that efforts to reduce animal suffering routinely exempt farms. Taking on the meat and dairy industry is a herculean task.
But most other forms of animal abuse, sexual or otherwise, are trivial by comparison. The cruelty of some pet owners decried by dog and cat rescues, for example, is a drop in the ocean compared to the sustained abuse our food system accepts as a given. By pushing for laws that exempt farms, the Humane Society helped to install a legal regime that normalizes and even exhorts practices that it considers intolerable when done to pets. Such laws may be a small victory for pet-lovers and liberal sensibilities, but they harden the cruel boundary between companion animals and livestock ever more.
If we were consistent with our concerns, we would recognize that the most common source of harm to animals, sexual or otherwise, is industrial agriculture. That this system is legal has a lot to do with agricultural interests skewing the law-making process, but it has just as much to do with most Americans choosing to look away from the harms caused by a system in which they participate on a daily basis. Gabriel N. You are using an outdated browser.
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