You can watch the infamous “Mr Hands Video” aka “2 Guys 1 Horse” video here, but first a little background information on the story…
Kenneth Pinyan has gone down in modern infamous legend as “Mr Hands”. He was an engineer for American Boeing, who videotaped himself many times performing sex acts with horses, in which his anus was penetrated. The pleasure he received from this act was self-evident, but what about the horse? Was “Mr Hands” an animal abuser, as well as a deviant?
The definition of modern “performance art” is a nebulous one, to be sure. Who is to say when it goes too far? Such artists as Karen Black have long incorporated ritualistic displays of nudity in their act, and have defended this as free expression, according to the whims of their artistic nature. Surely, no one who pays to see Karen Black in concert is going to expect anything less of her, or will be grievously offended when she performs her act as planned, nudity included.
A more extreme example would be the act of the late GG Allin, who was notorious for performing such acts as stripping naked, taking laxatives, and defecating on the stage. Sometimes he would scoop up the excrement, and fling it, ape like, at his audience. While this is surely a far more deviant example, and stretches the concept of “artistic expression” to its breaking point, it is also, nonetheless, true that his audience had long come to expect such antics from his performance, and were surely not offended when he “delivered” in this fashion.
So, a similar argument could be made for the “2 Guys 1 Horse” video, featuring “Mr Hands”. While his performance was certainly bizarre, and constituted criminal sodomy under many jurisdictions, it is remarkable that his antics did not provoke a general outcry of protest or controversy, until his very final such action, which resulted in his death.
In July 2005, he suffered a perforation of his colon, while being anally serviced by a farm horse. His death resulted in a bill being passed in Washington state which prohibits not only bestiality itself, but the videotaping of the act, and distribution of those tapes or downloads afterward. So, it is important to note that these sort of acts became illegal only after the fact. Legally speaking, they were not criminal acts of animal cruelty or human deviance while Kenneth Pinyan was alive.
As to the wider ethical question of, “Does the “2 Guys 1 Horse” video constitute animal cruelty?”, all that can be said is that the tradition of bestiality is certainly as old as mankind. Tijuana donkey shows continue to draw huge crowds of onlookers to this very day. The fact that Pinyan was a gay man enjoying the ultimate in phallus penetration, courtesy of the equine world, does tend to cloud the issue, bringing in issues of homophobia to an already thorny moral dilemma.
Ultimately, if any “outrage against nature” was committed, it is one for which Mr. Pinyan has since paid the ultimate price. Laws have since been passed which directly criminalize any attempts to emulate the performances for which he gained his present notoriety. In short, practical legality has effectively neutralized, for the present, the underlying “moral” issue.