Bestiality, i.e., sex acts by humans which involve the participation of animals, is currently a felony in 17 American states, while other states provide misdemeanor charges for proven cases. Due to its intrinsic rarity, it is the sort of crime that comes to the public consciousness only on occasion. However, when it does arise, it is sure to the be cause of controversy and widespread public protest – and speculative interest.
The death of Kenneth “Mr. Hands” Pinyan, who suffered a fatal perforation of his colon after engaging in a videotaped sex act in which his anus was penetrated by a horse, has become the most controversial case of all. The fact not only bestiality, but homosexuality, was involved, has further complicated the issue.
Certainly, while the state of Washington moved swiftly to criminalize not only all acts of bestiality, but their videotaping and subsequent distribution, the wider American public has been polarized, and to some extent, politicized, by the larger moral issue.
In the opinion of the author, any sex act which is regarded as “deviant” under existing state and federal laws, ought to result, not only in fines and possible imprisonment, but the committing of the “guilty” individual to a course of comprehensive mental health evaluation and treatment.
Mr. Pinyan was, besides his zoological fixation, not an individual who was judged as deviant or even notable in any way. To those who knew him in real life, at his job, for instance, he was judged a common place, run of the mill, individual, not notable or remarkable in any way.
It may, in fact, have been this very observation and judgment on the part of his working day peers which drove him to seek out and commit such thrilling acts of aberration in his spare time. As a performer, Pinyan very likely had little else to offer. Yet, the effects of modern media saturation, which include instilling in alarmingly large numbers of average people the idea that they, too, can be “famous for 15 minutes” via Youtube, may be partially to blame for Pinyan’s remarkable self reinvention as “Mr. Hands“.
Returning to the issue of whether bestiality itself should be considered a crime, the opinion of the present author is as follows. Bestiality is an act which is harmful not only to the human who perpetrates it, but the animal as well.
Regardless of whether the animal enjoys or protests against such an act, the fact is, that the human participant is instilling the memory of such an act on to the receptive mental faculties of that animal. This could cause a dangerous situation in the future should that animal attempt to emulate this act in future upon a human being who had nothing to do with the original act.
The possibility of having to shoot a perfectly good horse because it has been trained to anally service human individuals is certainly one which animal rights activists could use to point to bestiality as an expression of animal cruelty. This is an opinion which the present author would tend to share.